Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Irene F Whittome

Irene F Whittome  First Words  1982  encaustic, plaster cloth on wood, collection of the National gallery of Canada

I started this post because I wanted to write about the stunning painting I saw by Irene F Whittome five years ago in the National gallery of Canada. (above)
sarah nishiura  big quilt
I wanted to write about the impact of that painting on me.  I saw it just as the gallery was closing and the guards hurried me past it, so I made a quick sketch from memory.  I came across the sketch yesterday and searched out the painting online, and found it on the National Gallery site.
root connection
Thank you Arlee for helping me to get Irene's painting from the National Gallery site.

It's really large (nearly 100 inches or 248 cm square) and in two parts.
It has high contrast - red and white encaustic, and it uses the archetype of the cross.
Why do some paintings hit you in the heart?

When I see a painting or a quilt on the internet that has that kind of impact, I save it.  I don't have a pinterest board, but like to visit the site every now and then and poke around.  How else do we learn what we like?

I am showing a few here that remind me (as Irene's does) to work with simple shapes and to consider high contrast.  Click on their names to see more of each artist's work.
ingrid press
Irene F Whittome is a Canadian artist who has been given one of the highest honours our country can give to an artist.  The Order of Canada.  Here is her web site but I could not find the painting from the National Gallery on it.  I did find many other really thought provoking works.

Irene's painting First Words uses the archetype of the cross.
The cross is just implied in the painting.  It is erased.
My sketch done from memory didn't erase the crosses!  In fact, my sketch was covered with crosses.
I was surprised to see the painting on the web site (see it with a quick link to here.)
ingrid press
This post is a bit of a ramble.
I thought I would also give an update on my left LEG.

I am now feeling much better, although I am still using a walker.
I had to have a second surgery on July 4 to drain what looked to be an infection.
As I heal from the inside out, I am being protected with strong anti-biotics.
Being mended.
sophie truong
Thank you for all your good wishes.


  1. So glad to hear the healing is underway. Many inspiring images. Thank you!

  2. such bold & powerful work!

  3. So glad to know you are mending, even though it's been a bit of a struggle. As for the crosses, I was surprised they weren't immediately obvious to me; rather, I saw more clearly the rows of 3 red shapes. Trinitarian, perhaps... Take care!

  4. Very Glad you are on the mend. Thank you for posting about these artists of whom I had not been aware...

  5. Judy, I've just caught up with your blog posts. I was horrified to hear of your traumatic injury. That is such good news you feeling as though you are on the mend. All the best...

  6. mending is good.

  7. I'm so sorry that you had to have a 2nd surgery but am glad to hear the infection is under control and that you're on the mend! I send healing thoughts to you.

  8. Dorothea4:16 pm

    I am not unknown, geesh!

  9. Thinking about you all the time Judy and how brave and focused you are - continuing to work and share and be our mentor and special 'arts educator' when we are all struggling a bit to make our way... your wise counsel, sharing of beautiful art we all need to take note of and just 'knowing' - what really counts.
    So important.
    See you in September if all is well - I will be there.

  10. sometimes the way things run together ... was just looking at a scrap of cloth I have here

    best to you

  11. Thank you for sharing these interesting artists work. Mend well and thank you for all your inspiring blog posts. Louise.

  12. Good to hear you are on the mend. This is a lovely post, like a little trip to a museum or gallery. And reminders are so needed to keep it simple. It sure seems like it should be the other way around.

  13. I brought home and old quilt
    from the cabin- I thought it looked odd,
    they'd stacked the 9 patches that i'd not expected.
    Most often you'd no have 2 the same together.

    after airing it. it needs a tone of repair.
    I looked at them again~
    the stacks make crosses

    you might want to see them.

    I'm glad you are doing better <3 ! <3

  14. dear Judy - so sorry to hear (belatedly) about your leg. You have the right attitude, though, and I am glad you have a network of people to support your recovery, not to mention the focus and comfort that stitching provides. Take good care on the road to recovery.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx