There is so much I find intriguing and inspiring that it is difficult to say what actually determines the outcome of any individual piece of work. Common to everything seems to be the patterns. I have the good fortune to enjoy a urban lifestyle on an island off the West Coast of Canada. Everywhere there are patterns left on weathered surfaces created by the natural forces of nature. I like to travel to experience some of the diversity and vitality of other lifestyles. The patterns found in story telling and ritual seem universal and familiar, although meaning and symbolism change across time and place. There are the common patterns of human experience, the briefness of life, the love of family and friends, the resilience of community, a creative imagination that connects us to the past and propels us forward with hope for the future.
Whether working figuratively or abstractly I begin intuitively, in an abstract manner, building a complicated surface of marks in acrylic and plaster. I continue layering with more media, paint and plaster – masking, scraping, and sanding – the scarred surface bears the traces and artifacts of earlier layers. There is an interaction between random and intended actions. It is important to me that the process contains elements of chance leaving an opening for unexpected possibilities. Time is a constantly recurring influence both concretely and metaphorically, as order evolves out of disorder, weaving the past with the present, realistic elements and abstraction, surface and depth, the timeless and the fleeting. The interpretation is left open to the viewer.
Donna Hall was born in North Bay Ontario, Canada. After attending the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, she pursued a successful career as a freelance transparency retoucher. In 1992 Donna returned to her fine art practice and painting full time. In 1999 Donna and her husband, photographer Ron Watts, moved to Salt Spring Island BC where they currently live and work.
“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to transition from a busy commercial career to the challenge of pursuing my own art practice on Salt Spring Island. Home is a stimulating community of creative friends who constantly challenge you.”
While browsing through publications and online reference for l inspiration, I have come across large collections of vintage, public domain, photos of people. These collections contain images that might be the only remaining evidence of unnamed men, women and children. The photographic mementos of loved ones and strangers that have lost their connection to their families and heritage, are the starting point for this series of paintings.
Donna is currently represented exclusively on Salt Spring Island at Gallery 8.