Dartmouth artist Violet Rosengarten is showcasing a selection of her spring collection at Gallery Nineteen Nineteen in Halifax. The paintings in the exhibit, which is called Foliage and Flowers, Islands, Lakes and Sea, include some of Rosengarten’s plein air work inspired by natural locations around HRM.
“I wanted to show work I did outdoors,” Rosengarten says. “Everyone is tired of winter and looking forward to summer. People were commenting on the light in them. I can see I really developed my own style.”
Rosengarten’s process involves painting with oil sticks, which she says look like crayons with oil paint inside. She then draws into the paint, removing some of the paint and creating detailed patterns and texture on her work.
“I love texture and colour,” Rosengarten says.
The exhibit also includes Rosengarten’s paintings of dahlias at the Halifax Public Gardens and peonies from her neighbours’ gardens. Other paintings are of trees from different seasons and a small collection of pastels on red paper. The larger works are her plein air paintings, which are bright and full of colour and life. Before she heads to a site to paint, she paints a canvas in a colour and adds some texture to it.
“I usually spend an hour and a half painting outside and then I’m totally wiped out,” Rosengarten says. “It’s very intense. You have to work very fast before the conditions change. It’s very challenging at times, depending on the weather.”
The landscapes she’s painted include spots at the Salt Marsh at Chezzetcook and locations within the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area, including Susies Lake. Rosengarten has a few paintings from the same locations, but each painting is different and reflects the conditions when she was painting. The looks can be mystical or rugged.
“I don’t know what’s going to come out,” Rosengarten says. “It’s a surprise each time.”
Rosengarten started her plein air painting when she arrived in Nova Scotia with her family 13 years ago, saying she was inspired by the province’s natural beauty. In Toronto, Rosengarten worked as an artist and taught art at Jarvis Collegiate Institute. She worked as a textile artist before she became a painter.
“This is where it’s beautiful,” Rosengarten says. “It’s hard to get out of Toronto. It takes hours to get out of the city. [Plein air] is something I developed here and found a real thrill to them.”
She paints in the summer and fall months. During the winter, she works on mixed media art in her studio.
She had a show a few years ago at The Craig Gallery in Dartmouth, exhibiting black and white paintings of winter gardens. She also had a show in September 2018 at Round Hill Studio in Annapolis Royal.
This summer, Rosengarten says she will be outside more, working on new pieces. She’s also working on abstract works for a show she hopes to have later this year. Rosengarten’s current show runs until Friday, April 26, at Gallery Nineteen Nineteen, which is located at 6025 Stanley St. in Halifax.
For more information, visit violetrosengarten.com or gallerynineteennineteen.com.
Chronicle Herald, Halifax, April 1st, 2019