In the field with Charlie Easton
When Mountain Galleries artist Charlie Easton wants to get away from it all, he goes to his shack on an island in the Pacific to paint, to parent and to gain perspective on the crazy world we live in.
MG: Where are you right now?
CE: On a rock trying to get phone reception, off Helby Island in Barkley Sound, West Coast of Vancouver Island, looking out towards Japan. Basically, the middle of nowhere.
MG: What are you doing out there?
CE: I come out here with my family to get away from the rat race. We were so lucky to buy 6 acres on this island a number of years ago, and it’s really become our happy place. The most unbelievable nature is right on our doorstep so we’re able to have our heads buried in a building project, or changing a diaper, and then look up to see whales breaching.
MG: And are you painting much?
CE: I paint every day out here! I have a small backpack of oil paints, and another of acrylic paints, and there are just so many stunning scenes to try to capture. The light out here is filtered through so much atmosphere, moisture in the air, and so it can look blue one minute, golden the next, and there is just so much distance in every vista. Seastacks, waves, battered trees, old-growth cedars, mosses, lichens, beach logs, coastal cloud systems, islands, beach fires, sea foam… so much to paint.
MG: Tell us about your family, what are they up to?
CE: My daughter is 4, and she loves painting, my son is almost 2 and he loves spilling paint, so they’re great company as I’m out and about. And my wife is just such a natural outdoors-person, she comes alive in the wilderness, so it’s great to be out here together as a family. Parenting anywhere is a tough gig, but somehow out here, with less distractions, it feels simpler. The kids are no less demanding, but you’ve always got a tidepool to get lost in, or a bit of driftwood that can double as a cricket bat. Sometimes we wish we had a washing machine though.
MG: And will you be developing larger works from your plein air studies?
CE: That’s the plan. Plein air studies are such a crucial part of artistic development in my opinion. You learn so much about a place, about your technique, and about yourself while plein air painting. The end result of a plein air sketch may not be a finished painting, but it can be an idea or a realization that can feed into a more finished studio painting. Keep an eye on for some new work in the spring.
MG: we look forward to that, and stay safe!