canadian artist danielle harshenin
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The Canadian Northern Lights over the Northwest Territories is the seventh painting I completed from my 2023 Canadian Landscape series. I opted for a simple snowy forest scene that wasn't specific to any one location in the Northwest Territories because I wanted the northern lights in the sky to be the star of the show. After all, the Northwest Territories are known for being one of the best places to view the aurora borealis in the entire world!
Originally, I planned to complete my Canadian landscape series by the end of summer, however, this summer brought a number of unexpected events. The Northwest Territories ended up being one of the few paintings I was able to finish. My husband broke his ankle and required surgery in late June (which meant he couldn't walk/drive/swim for 6-8 weeks), and then in August, we were evacuated from our home for five days due to the Okanagan wildfires. It has been a trying summer to say the least!! I feel very grateful to be back home and for the moments I got to spend in my studio.
Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia is the sixth painting I completed in my 2023 Canadian Landscape series. The reason I chose this location is obvious... when I think of Nova Scotia, the province is synonymous with the Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove! I think every Canadian can picture this iconic white lighthouse standing tall beside the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean.
Fun Fact: Of the six paintings I have completed in my Canadian Landscape series so far, Peggy's Cove came together the most seamlessly. Usually when I start a painting, I have a plan in my mind that will evolve throughout my creative process. With Peggy's Cove, I started with a vision of what I wanted this painting to look, and that vision held constant until the painting was completed. I was very happy with how it turned out.
The fifth painting I made in my 2023 Canadian Landscape series is Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon. This park boasts spectacularly rugged mountain peaks that look like, well, tombstones! I was completely enthralled by the park's dark, almost ominous beauty. This feeling is what inspired my dark color palette of predominately greys. As Yukon is located up in northern Canada, I also thought it was appropriate to include the northern lights in this painting. The neon lights illuminate the dark sky and are reflected in two of the park's lakes.
The main criteria I had when selecting reference photos for my Canada series was that images had to capture something truly unique about each province/territory. Tombstone Park definitely met that criteria. Mountains like this cannot be found anywhere else in the country, so it's not surprising that Tombstone Park is one of the Yukon's biggest tourist attractions.
The fourth painting I completed in my 2023 Canadian Landscape series is the Bay of Fundy (also known as the Hopewell Rocks or "Flowerpot Rocks") in New Brunswick. When I was considering different locations to paint in New Brunswick, I was instantly captivated by the Bay of Fundy. These unique rock formations are known as sea stacks and are caused by tidal erosion. What makes them even more unique is that they have trees growing on top. It is hard to gauge the scale of these rocks from my painting, but the highest point is 70 feet tall!
I was super excited to paint these rocks, but I definitely ran into a few challenges along the way... The biggest struggle was figuring out how to make the rocks look three-dimensional while keeping consistent with my Barcode Landscape style. In the end, I was both happy and relieved by how the painting turned out. This is also the first Barcode Landscape painting I've made with a horizontal sky.
Niagara Falls (a.k.a. Horseshoe Falls or the "Canadian Falls") in Ontario is the third painting I completed from my 2023 Canada series. Fun Fact: Niagara Falls is actually made up of three waterfalls, two of which are located in the United States, and one (Horseshoe Falls) that lies on the border between Canada and the US. Horseshoe Falls is the largest (and most beautiful IMO) of the three.
When I was deciding which location to paint for Ontario, Niagara Falls was not actually my first choice. I was originally going to paint the Toronto skyline (mostly because my husband is from Toronto). However, Niagara Falls won in the end because of its spectacular natural beauty, and because it is one of Canada's most infamous landmarks. At 24x36 inches, it is larger than the other paintings in this series which allowed me to add more details. This was also my very first time painting a waterfall!
The second painting I completed was Old Quebec City in Quebec. When I was trying to choose a location to paint in Quebec, Old Quebec City was really the only option for me. Old Quebec is incredibly rich in cultural heritage and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Everything about this city is so beautiful... it will make you feel like you've stepped out of Canada and into old world Europe.
Old Quebec boasts very unique castle-like architecture, the most prominent example being the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac which is featured in my painting. If you look closely, you can also spot Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, which has a rooftop cross that pierces the skyline; the Louis St. Laurent Building (old post office) with its rooftop clock; and the Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec, a popular tourist attraction that links the upper and lower levels of the city.
Twillingate in Newfoundland & Labrador is the first painting I completed in my Canadian Landscape series. This piece captured my attention first mostly because I was eager to paint an iceberg haha! I also love the unique colorful houses found along Canada's east coast.
Newfoundland is stunningly beautiful and had many landscapes for me to choose from. Another option I considered was the fjord in Gros Morne National Park. I ended up choosing Twillingate because it is one of the only places (if not the only place) in Canada where you can view gargantuan-sized icebergs from residential areas! You may recall a few years back when Newfoundlanders were taking surreal looking photos of icebergs in their backyards. The photos really put the scale of these ice giants into context. The icebergs are MASSIVE and completely dwarfed the homes they were floating by. Those images stuck with me, and ultimately was why I chose Twillingate as the location for my Newfoundland painting.
This year I will be participating in Riot on the Roof - Vernon's biggest alternative art party!
This event is hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery and is intended to promote youth involvement in the Okanagan art community. There will be live music, live painting, food vendors, and visual art displays (including mine!). Riot on the Roof is held on the roof of the parkade above the art gallery. I think this event is going to be a blast! Hope to see you there :-)
Saturday, August 26, 2023
7:00 to 11:00 PM
I am honored to be participating in Vernon Public Art Gallery's 37th Annual Midsummer's Eve of the Arts event. This event is on July 19, 2023 at the Mackie Lake House in Coldstream. Two of my paintings will be available for purchase, with proceeds going towards the arts community in Vernon. Tickets are available here.
Hi! I'm Danielle.
Welcome to my blog. I'm a visual artist in the Okanagan Valley of BC known for my colorful Barcode Landscape paintings. I post here (very infrequently) about new work and upcoming shows. Please say hello in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!
Canadian artist located in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Barcode Landscape paintings by Danielle Harshenin.