By Darren Lum
Sept. 25 2018
Like her garden of flowers bordered by walls and paths of native rock around her two-storey home Rose Pearson’s artwork is a complex collection of images (and sometimes text) with depth and texture. It features painted mixed-media collages produced with acrylic and oil paint
She is one of 37 artists at 29 studios who will showcase their work during the upcoming Haliburton County Studio Tour.
Pearson's work has changed from including hidden imagery of her family (she has two sons) to the world around her: the garden at her home for the past 11 years the wildlife and the beautiful surroundings.
“There’s layers of information. Those paintings are built up and parts get obscured and I think about the complexity of the wilderness” she said.
“The parts you repress or submerge in order to exist and then the parts you reveal … to exist” she said.
Art is a large part of her life; she’s a supply teacher at the high school and an instructor and co-ordinator for an arts certificate program at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.
Gardening has been a constant companion while at her Rose Pearson Studio located at 1009 Camp White Pine Court several kilometres from Haliburton which has provided her mental stability.
She beams about what it has meant to her life.
“Gardening is way cheaper and more fun than therapy” she said laughing.
Getting outside working with the surroundings was a big part of her healing process.
When she first moved to her home the grass and vegetation was so thick it was difficult to see the cabin lying close to 20 metres off to the side of the house.
She’s spent the past 11 years clearing planting weeding beds and moving rocks which have formed garden walls for her perennials and paths on her property.
She is documenting the gardens in her work. The way rocks fit together fascinates her. She shows off the formations and pathways she has shed sweat for (and likely bled for). There is a give and take of control and letting go. Pearson points out immovable rocks. She left them working with and around them. They shaped her paths and borders.
The studio tour’s best aspect she said is the opportunity for reunion with regulars.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit of a reunion. Especially when you’ve done it for over an 18-year period. People have come and they’ve watched the boys grow up. There is a little bit of a visit aspect to it” she said. “It’s an annual chance to re-connect with people.”
The repeat customers make a point of coming back appreciating the opportunity to see Rose and her latest work.
She recounts how four of her pieces from the Perivale Gallery on Manitoulin Island were bought when the patron couldn’t decide which of the four to pick. Although she appreciated the sale she wished she could have seen their reaction and received their feedback about her work.
“But I wasn’t there for that experience and I have no idea who these people are who now own four of my pieces. So I can hear the story but there is not the connection. A part of me says ‘Oh I wish I had been there and seen who they were and what they were going to do with them” she said. “So on the studio tour you get to meet and talk about the work and sometimes see that glimmer of emotional response to your work. I think that’s a powerful part.”
She’s been on the studio tour for 16 of the last 18 years taking one year off for her boys and one year off while at HSAD. As an experienced studio participant she said the tour is less frenzied than when she started.
“You know what to expect and you have things down pat. Routine wise you know what to do” she said.
For all the repeat customers and fans of her work there will be people who have not seen her work.
She said the best compliment she’s received is from people who said they could see the joy in her work.
“When they see the work they get a complete sense of joy. It’s one of those things that sort of stuck with me. That would be a lofty goal for other people to feel. I want them to feel a sense of richness and appreciation for this time on the planet. The beauty. The beauty of it all” she said.