CANMORE – The past two years of COVID-19 led many people to find new hobbies and skills. For Canmore artist Ralph Temple, it led him to a whole new way to present landscapes in an artistic form.
Known for his watercolour and acrylic paintings of landscapes, his most recent creations experiment with different materials that allow him to use glass, wood, reflective foils and metallic elements.
“It grew out of COVID by the fact that I was playing around at home. Galleries were closed,” Temple said. “I have a bunch of stuff in my basement that I was chopping up and playing with. I realized the decisions I was making on how to put them together was basically landscapes.”
With time to experiment with the new style, Temple slowly began to develop a style that proved to be unique.
“I started putting bits of mirror in and making it more like landscapes. Eventually, because I had been using the mirror, I started using paint and then putting glass over top of it,” Temple said. “Every time I made one, I would run into a problem and solve it with the next one. There is a progression for how it works.”
Being able to use this new style and expand his artistic skills has been something Temple has enjoyed since he started.
“When you start a particular type of work and people know what it is and they want you to do more, that is fine, but it doesn’t stretch your imagination,” Temple said. “I was happy to play around with this stuff and I gradually realized I was doing a serious inquiry into my process.”
His new landscape work is now on display at the June exhibition of the Canmore Art Guild. The exhibition runs from June 2-26, Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other guild painters such as Brenda Heine, Jannis Allan Hare, Leanne Schnierer, Barb Mackie and Leyson Yantilian also have work at the exhibition.
The response to his new work has been extremely positive.
“I have yet to meet people who say they have seen something like that. It is successful from that point of view,” Temple said. “The other types of comments are from other artists who talk to me about it is they haven’t seen it before either.”
One interesting aspect of the art is that due to the high use of reflective surfaces, including metallic acrylic paint, the landscapes change as you view them.
“They are very bright and high contrast colours. They are very difficult to photograph because there is glass, silver foil and all these things that are very reflective,” Temple said. “They change as you look at them. You shift the place you are standing and other colours come out because it is all very reflective and bright surfaces.”
Moving forward, Temple will continue to work with this new style, while still doing his watercolour landscape works.
“It is summer now and I like to garden, and I have grandchildren,” Temple said. “When the schedule allows, I am going to do more glass work and see what else takes my fancy. They change each time I make one.”