Hallie Watson – Artist Profile

Artist Hallie Watson in front of her piece Spreading Maple, 27.5″ x 78″, oil pastel on paper, 2018.

Hallie Watson spends ten months of the year in Halifax and two months on a farm in Ontario. She makes landscapes and still life with oil pastel on paper and oil on canvas. Her practice also includes regular life drawing.

showing people what they don’t see
I think that my job as an artist is to show people things that they see all the time but don’t see at all. Whether it is a spreading maple or a plate of grapes, my intent is to present it to the viewer so that he says, “Wow! Look at that, how wonderful!”

Hallie Watson, Field Tomato,13.75″ x 19.5″, oil pastel on paper, 2011.

my love is drawing.
My love is drawing. My pieces are mostly oil pastel on paper, but in recent years I have turned to oil stick on canvas as well. Though I think of my work as drawings, many people regard them as paintings, which is fine. I’m also enthusiastic about figure drawing.

I have been a hybrid/country person all my life. My parents bought a farm when I was very young where we would go every weekend. Thus, I am influenced by the complexities, wonderments and design miracles involved in the natural world. This makes landscapes. I am also interested in the intersections of objects, history and people, and also how beautiful simple things up close can be. This makes still lives.

I am trained to see and as an artist I want to say to my viewer, “Look at this!” because I think many of us go through life not really seeing things. In the last ten years I have been making pieces that involve image and text. These texts, written by me, are a mix of fact and fiction and add another dimension to the image.

keeping up with the admin
Part of the challenge of being an artist is to keep up with the secretarial part of the practice. Some of this is documenting the work, continuing to propose shows and keeping the website current. All this stuff is so important, but I have to make myself do it. It’s worth it though, when you send out a proposal and you get an acceptance back, or when the work connects positively with the viewer.

giving every member an opportunity
I joined VANS when I first came here from Ontario. I like VANS because I feel that the people there want to give every member an opportunity to be successful. I have benefited in a number of ways. I’ve been invited to participate in a show because the curator accessed my images though the VANS image library. I’ve had a show in the VANS gallery space, the Corridor Gallery. I’ve had many teaching opportunities through the PAINTS program, and I’ve had a review in the magazine. Another benefit is the feeling that VANS is a supportive team. It’s nice to have that team on your side.

Hallie Watson, Skyscraping #3, 75″ x “47”, oil on canvas, 2013.

coming up…rural roads and portraits of trees
Currently I am working on a show which will open at the Halifax Archives in April 2019. This is a two artist show about trees, and I am sharing it with well known artist Karen Kulyk. This tree show includes works involving maple trees that line the rural roads in Mono, Ontario where our family farm is located. One hundred and fifty years ago, when the first settlers came to this area, these maples were planted along the road in front of the first houses. Now they are nearing the end of their lifespans and are starting to die out. They are huge and gorgeous and have witnessed a great deal. I’ve been documenting them with drawings that I view as portraits.

Some of these pieces consist of a number of drawings that join up to make one. The most recent one, just finished, is a maple tree, four drawings joined.

My most recent show was at the Saint John Arts Centre. It opened in June 2018. This was a show of still life and texts entitled The Treasure Project.

You can see more of Hallie Watson’s work on her website: halliewatson.com.

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