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HANNE LORE KOEHLER:
My love for the northern climate of North America should be evident in my landscape paintings. We have four distinct seasons (winter, spring, summer, autumn); each offers dramatic changes to the landscape that impact our activities, our clothing, our homes, our state of mind. I look forward to each season with renewed anticipation of a change in routine. To me, the change in seasons is like traveling abroad to a different climate for a three month vacation without leaving. A new season will change a scene dramatically within a few weeks, offering a fresh perspective to the landscape. The rich vibrant Autumn colors that seem to blow in on a warm September breeze exemplify this change.
I try to incorporate this sense of movement into my paintings, to make them burst with life. A landscape with rustling creek or rising early morning mist or billowing clouds is very appealing to me to paint. The colors of fall, in particular, which last only a few weeks, seem to represent the changing seasons, changes in life, anticipation of the future and movement in the painting seems to be a natural portrayal of the season.
"Southern Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces of Canada and the north-eastern United States are very colorful in the Autumn. Deciduous trees such as Maples, Sumacs, Birch that have provided common uncomplicated insignificant green background throughout the summer, suddenly become the main attraction in the fall landscape. With warm to hot rich color palette of yellows, oranges, reds and browns, the simple watercolor splashes of a colorful clump of trees in the sunlight against a distant woods and contrasting cool blue sky can become the striking focal point of today's "neutral tone" designed spaces. When Autumn paints the waves of hills ablaze in glorious excitement of red, orange and yellow in the warm September sunshine, when a brisk, cold wind assaults the landscape until the leaves let go of their precarious hold to trees, when the colors have faded and the raw uncomplicated beauty of blues and browns of misty woods on a wet November day create a pensive moody atmosphere, trees beg to be painted.
The rugged landscape of Ontario's Near North - Muskoka, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Haliburton, Huntsville, Algonquin, Temagami - with enormous rock protrusions that seem to have burst up through the ground is featured in many of my paintings. Gigantic rock cliffs of the Pre-Cambrian Shield are covered with a colorful mixture of deciduous and coniferous forests that, viewed from space, must appear to be an attempt at camouflage. Enormous boulders, smooth river rocks and little pebbles that line the path of a meandering stream range from naked to moss-covered. I think there must be an Echo Rock in almost every Lake in Cottage Country - a place where you cannot resist calling out "Hello-o-o!" and miraculously, you always get an answer! Rocks beg to be painted.
On a beautiful fall day, the thousands of lakes encircled by rings of cottages, docks and boat houses, that are sprinkled throughout Ontario and Manitoba reflect blue skies and amazing technicolor sunsets amid undulations of spectacular color-splashed hills. A chattering creek appears, sauntering boldly from its source deep in the golden woods, determined to reach an unknown destination, eager to divulge the location of the secret treasure of Northern Gold. The meandering Northern Ontario creek contains many catch basins and calm little pools abundant with life that spreads throughout the colorful Autumn landscape. When the lonely call of the loon echos through the silent morning Lake Of Bays mist, when shimmering red, orange and yellow reflections ripple down Polywog Creek, fall over a rock ledge and explode into a vibrant pool of color , when the mighty thundering rapids of the Ottawa River tumble over and smash against gigantic boulders, water begs to be painted.
Fantastic sunsets viewed from a high altitude look-out ridge on a walking trail in Northern Ontario's Algonquin National Wilderness Park, emphasize the seemingly infinite colorful autumn vista. From this perspective, the problems you thought you had seem trivial and unimportant and you begin to comprehend your own insignificance. When a golden sunset competes with rival storm clouds for prominence in the September sky, the awesome beauty of Lake Superior is undeniable, yet such ominous dark gale producing clouds are a reminder that this, the largest of the Great Lakes, demands respect. When a Chinook blows in, temperatures can fluctuate drastically, churning up intense prairie storms that blast through and leave us with extravagant sunsets in unobstructed vistas. When a spectacular autumn prairie sky embraces Saskatchewan wheatfields, when wind-battered pines and marsh grasses stand in silhouette against a striking Muskoka dawn, when heaven is ablaze in a red glow behind a dilapidated weather-beaten New England barn, sky begs to be painted.