Since moving to Canada, autumn has become my absolute favourite time of year: the vibrant colours that abound leave me breathless, and I am often overcome with the beauty of season. The air is electric with inspiration, ringing out in tones of deep reds, brilliant oranges, and stunning yellows…a chorus of colours.
In Lebanon, fall is completely different. When the season comes, the leaves change to pale yellow (nothing like the depth and shades of yellow here), even beige. It wasn’t until I came to the feast of colour that is the Canadian autumn that I realized how starved for colour the Lebanese autumn was.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched the seasons come and go: each fall I am still captivated. I will drop anything to go out and wander among the leaves. A few years back, I took a drive from Toronto to Montreal in the height of the season. It was one of those idyllic, perfect days, where every moment seems charged with significance, one of those days where you are acutely aware of the beauty of the world, and you realize, with a start, that you are truly happy in the moment.
The scenery was truly awe-inspiring: I couldn’t get enough! I was drunk on colour, dizzy with the beauty that surrounded me. We pulled over in Kingston, ON, for an hour so that we could truly take it in, and not just through the car window. I took countless photos, over and over, trying to capture the perfection.
It is experiences like this that inspire me to paint works such as Warm Canadian Day. I recall that day with much fondness: painting is a way for me to return to that day, to those feelings of happiness and joy, to the fiesta of autumn. Though I do take pictures, as I mentioned, I cannot paint from photographs. I prefer to draw from memories and mental images: I find the works are then infused with a genuine feeling, tinted and shaded with the authenticity of my own experience. I find I am more able to make the piece my own.