"A Day’s Hike"
Louise Cook, "A Day’s Hike," oil on canvas, 30"x60".
Assiniboia Gallery, Regina
May 29 to June 20, 2009
By Patricia Robertson
Sodbusters share a fierce connection to the land. While some farm it and others experience it on snow-packed sled trails, Louise Cook prefers to paint it. Her family’s farm near Spruce Home, Saskatchewan provided the first setting for Cook’s grassroots aesthetic. For 35 years, the Saskatoon-based artist has been joyfully depicting the rolling hills, vast prairies and verdant coulees of her home province. A Day’s Hike portrays a lovely area near Hanson Lake. “My husband likes to fish for trout and I paint,” Cook says about the area. “I’m so inspired by the corduroy-like landscape where the lakes are deep. I love the fall colours, the odd swamp lake, dead trees and odd land forms in this place.” She adds that she much prefers to paint outdoors. “I just love the immediacy of plein air. You are right there. It’s just like having a conversation across the table.” While Cook has travelled extensively and recently sought out rich subject matter in Ontario’s fall landscape, she finds herself returning to the lush Prairies for creative solace. “It resonates. It has a magnetic connection for me. This is where I find some kind of absolute eureka.”