Painter from Life
Profile by P. Richards
Greg Garand has been living in Summerside for the past year and prior to that lived in Charlottetown, after moving to the Island from Ontario. He grew up in Welland, Ontario and then lived in Toronto and Huntsville. Greg had been working in Huntsville as the art director of a small magazine called Ratherby which catered to the residents of the Muskoka cottage region in central Ontario but when the magazine was forced to cease publication, Greg found himself free to pursue other possibilities. His then-girl-friend, Marie-Ann, had been applying for admission to a number of different universities and when she was accepted at the University of Prince Edward Island to study for a teaching degree, "We got married and drove down," says Greg.
Greg worked for a while at Gemini Screen Print. He says, "It was very hectic but a lot of fun, too. I enjoyed it. But after about eight or nine months I decided to devote some time to exploring painting and developing my style. I have been painting full-time for a year now." During this year of experimenting Greg worked with different materials and techniques combining oils and acrylics with metal pieces attached to gouged plywood surfaces. "Now I am concentrating on painting with oils on canvas," says Greg. "I have started painting on location. It feels good to get outside and because I am using oils it has made me work quicker. When I am working on location I am not distracted, I become totally focussed and I am able to take in a lot more information from the surroundings rather than from photographs of the scene."
Greg's latest paintings feature scenes around the wharf - boats, ropes, etc. When asked if this is a theme that he is interested in he replied "I paint the subject matter at hand. I want to have and idea in the picture that involves the viewer. I guess that comes from my design background."
Not all of the paintings are nautical subjects however. "The painting of the contents of my fridge [see cover of this issue], was the result of being storm-stayed. I decided that I would brainstorm a list of things that I could paint and be completely open with my ideas. I had been to the market earlier and the idea came to me - I opened the fridge, snapped a Polaroid and got to work." [We were relieved to know that Greg did not leave the fridge door open all the time he was painting the portrait of its contents - ed.]
"I am trying to progress from a realistic to a looser style. I think my more successful pieces are in a looser, more expressive style. Now that I have a body of work to look back on I can see a progression. I am also working in miniature scale in oils on small four inch by six inch wood panels. They only take a half hour to complete but everything is there - technique, composition, colour, medium, etc."
"I get good feedback here from people. When I am painting on location a lot of people stop and seem interested - they don't think it is a strange thing to be doing."
Greg Garand has previously exhibited in a group show of the DENAM group of Summerside and his paintings can be seen at the Art Sales & Rental Gallery of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, in Charlottetown and at Art Sales and Rentals in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.