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  • Renee Laprise

It's a start!

This is me drawing OUTSIDE on Dec 5 at Robinson's Island on PEI.

I received a PEI arts grant recently to research and develop my next painting series

which will focus on the theme of “humans reconnecting with nature”. For me to be able to do this I feel like I need to reconnect with nature myself so I've decided to drawn from life using “life models” and from nature, en plein air, in all four seasons for elements that will eventually be included in final works.

I also feel a deep yearning to understand Epekwitk from the perspective of those whose land I inhabit. I am fortunate to have spent so much time with Mi’kmaq Elders and knowledge keepers on the Ice Walk documentary series. I was able to work in tandem with director Eliza Knockwood on the edit and we were able to strike a wonderful balance of Mi’kmaq/ally storytelling. It was a beautiful experience and I thought it might be interesting to try that type of activity for my work. Happily, Eliza has agreed to take me out for a weekend in all four seasons to show me what certain areas, foliage and creatures mean to her people so that I may have a deeper connection to the place I call home. The teachings won’t be directly used in my stories but will inform what and how I use elements.

A Métis Elder once told me that to really understand who I am I need to walk the land. “The land will show you what you are looking for”. This year I took that to heart and spent a lot of time roaming. It is from this simple action that I came to understand that communing with the land and with human subjects while creating my work is the next step in my creative process.

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