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Madeleine Arnett


The water of rivers and ponds has been the inspiration for my artistic
journey. A balcony view of the sparkling waters of the Elbow River in
Calgary triggered my career as an artist. It was an epiphany, the moment
I decided to become an artist. The river kindled my desire to paint
even though I had no formal art background. My art has evolved from
small watercolors to large format acrylics on canvas. I now paint almost exclusively in acrylic.
Exploring the nature of fluidity in my acrylic “River Rock” series, I
paint images of submerged river rocks. Textured rocks form intricate
patterns and seem to liquefy in the clear shallow river. I love to paint
water, its energy and its distortion. The water becomes a kaleidoscope
and rocks naturally morph into dazzling abstraction. I layer intricate
patterns of curving, rippling light to elucidate the transparent and
elusive nature of water. I paint loosely and quickly in an energetic style to capture the
synergy of the flowing water, the dancing light and the jewel-like
colors of the wet rocks. By careful use of color, I add harmony and
balance to the chaos of detail in the river bed.

When I took the leap to pure abstraction in my acrylic Abstract
Series, I began to explore the fluid dynamics of the paint itself; the
swirling lines of lively color shift and mix on the canvas. The paint is
now both the subject matter and the application. My technique of
pouring and mixing directly on the canvas maintains the essence of
fluidity. There is almost playfulness in the process. I alternate
styles, techniques, and tools, in my dynamic and energetic process. I
paint loosely and quickly as I switch between brushes, palette knives
and color shapers to capture the synergy of the flowing paint. Traces of
my River Rock Series are echoed in some of my abstract works; layers of
rippling color are evident like the sedimentary formations in my rock