Ensemble Nomad.e has had the luxury of five consecutive days at Lac Leamy with sunny warm weather and the time to settle into a new season of residencies among the constraints of physical distancing. While drawing and listening to the birds, we have had great conversations around this confluence of multi-layered crises. Nature’s unbalance is present at the later part of the week as high levels of ozone are activated by the sun and high temperatures. Watching the state-sanctioned violence suffered by Black and Indigenous peoples and listening to their stories has helped us lean into and focus the direction of some new artwork for public spaces. As Ensemble Nomad.e attempts to heal the wound of our separation from nature, we recognize with dignity, respect and care our place on the Earth.
Here are some of the drawings completed on site.
Preparing for the coming season
of drawing residencies in the confines of COVID-19
and the second-stage re-opening of Lac Leamy
May 14, 2020
The past week has been cold with ground frost overnight and warming at the end of the days. This morning is mostly sunny with a cool breeze coming across the lake. The sun is hot and feels good on the other side of my spring hat. I stretch my legs breathing in the fresh smells on the clear air.
The restriction against entering local parks has been eased. This morning I walked at Lac Leamy to celebrate the anniversary of last year’s cresting flood waters. This year the park feels very different. Few people and so many fences indicate we are not invited to sit down. We are expected to keep moving – I move slowly in close listening. The birds are plentiful with clear joyous calls. I am surprised by the number of cardinals but mostly by the beauty of a female perched on a low sunny branch with many subtle colours on her proud breast.
In 2019, when the rivers began to recede, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. This year the soil is dry and I am preoccupied by thoughts of a summer at two meters distance from everyone else. Ensemble Nomad.e is considering how to handle the coming season.
Pandemic lockdown meant that we had nowhere to go and the ensuing quiet was something I thought I would never experience in my lifetime. What I will remember about the spring 2020 is the feeling of the cool breeze on my face, the presence of so many birds and hearing their songs, the smell of rain on tender spring grasses and witnessing the wild rabbits turning from white to brown as winter melted into spring.
We are in a new year beginning a new decade
After a summer of drawing outside among the plants and trees of nature’s biodiversity, I am back in my studio full time. Returning requires questioning my creative objectives and how I might get there.