Agnes Ruest

My earliest memories of the landscape are as a young child, standing with my father on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, gazing out at the steep riverbank on the far shore and at the powerful, moving river. We went there often in the evening to give our Springer Spaniel a cool swim. When I began to paint the landscape I was immediately drawn to the riverbank and surrounding fields and to the memories of my childhood there.

My watercolours are always painted out of doors with direct reference to the landscape and so reflect the changes of the season, the time of day, the weather and other changes. I return often to places that interest me and find that there is infinite variation there and something new to observe every time I return to paint. I have been very fortunate to have also been able to make painting trips to Emma Lake, the foothills and mountains of southern Alberta, Riding Mountain National Park, the hills of the South of France, Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and now I have been living in Vancouver where I can paint at the seaside year-round.

My interest in studio painting has been in painting large. The scale of the paintings offers many interesting challenges and the opportunity to create a physical space where viewers can almost stand in the landscape with me. I only paint the studio pieces of scenes where I have painted watercolours and try to convey in the larger piece the same sense of place that I experienced while painting directly from the landscape.

I have been most inspired in my painting practice by my friend and teacher, Reta Cowley, with whom I painted and conversed on many occasions. Reta offered the most pure approach to artmaking. I am also greatly indebted to the quintessential landscape painter, Dorothy Knowles, for her encouragement and generosity in sharing the process and magic of painting with me.
The endless vistas of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding coastal mountains intrigue me. I am so looking forward to my next painting excursion.