If Glenn Clark was still in school, he would have had a great “what I did on my summer vacation” essay this year.
The Penticton-based artist was selected to spend a week in Glacier National Park in July, one of six artists picked to be part of Art in the Park.
“I never apply for anything like that, but I saw that one and I had to apply, because I have always wanted to get inside that park to paint,” said Clark.
Art in the Park has been running since 2008, providing visual artists with special access to explore one of Canada’s national parks and then share the experience through art.
This year, the Art in the Park program celebrated Glacier and Yoho national parks’ 125th anniversaries. Clark, who said that in 20 years he hasn’t applied for any art competition or project, has long been drawn to the area.
“You drive through Revelstoke and you’re looking around at all the big mountains. I get all shaky, I had to get in there,” said Clark, who was one of six artists chosen from 57 applicants.
Along with 28 paintings, Clark came out of a park with a new nickname.
“In Revelstoke, I am ‘the gumboot painter,’” he said. That’s because when the weather turned bad, he just kept heading outdoors to work.
“The first two days were glorious, but it was a wet July,” said Clark. Even though on day three, the rain was coming down in buckets, Clark had his most productive day.
“Everyone else stayed inside the research station. I went outside tucked underneath my umbrella and cranked out seven paintings that day,” Clark said. “I was painting rain clouds quickly moving over the mountains. It was fascinating, because they would leave pockets of the hills in the background … it was an abstract between the greys and whites and the blues and greens in the distance.”
Clark’s finished works will be on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3 along with works by the other artists on the journey, which included photographers and watercolour artists.
Clark’s work will also be on display a little closer to home. In late January, he will be doing a retrospective-style exhibition of his work at the Penticton Art Gallery.
“Paul (Crawford) offered me a show,” said Clark, who plans on bringing together works from the last 20 years, including a series painted for the 2004 Memorial Cup featuring the Vees. Those works were exhibited in Kelowna for the cup celebration, but have never been seen as a group in Penticton.
“There is going to be a lot of stuff going on there,” he said. “This will be the largest show I have ever had.”