Geraldine Ysselstein has over 30 years of experience as a working artist. She received her B.A. degree from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA) in Fine Arts and French and then continued her education at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) in Fine Arts. She received her Ontario Certificate of Teaching and taught for several years in elementary and high schools.
Geraldine is a landscape painter. Her oils and watercolours capture the scenic beauty of the north shore of Prince Edward Island. Working 'en plein air' (in the open air) allows the artist to absorb the colours of the island and the nuances of light.
The viewer is invited to participate and enjoy the natural peace of this setting.
Reflection on inspiration in the air and outdoors
The outdoors is my studio and I prefer to paint close to home. Depending on the light, the wind, the temperature and my mood, I look for a scene that offers interesting shapes and colours. I will often do a small pencil sketch, a quick paint study and then begin the larger painting with more confidence having taken the time to pay attention to what the scene offers. A photo reference is a handy reminder to have for future reference. Two to three hour sessions in the morning or the afternoon seem to fit my schedule.
When I come home I like to prop the painting in my kitchen and take sideways glances at it. Sometimes the painting says it finished in one session and other times it begs to be developed further. Where there is struggle I know I am being challenged to learn something new!
I use a basic palette of a warm and cool colour of each primary and then add burnt sienne, burnt umber and white. In my excitment to paint I usually forget something at home so I have learned to prepack a knapsack, easel and bag of oil paints that is a manageable weight to carry. Sunscreen, hat, water and a snack make the outing more enjoyable.
I am learning to cut and mount masonite boards as paint supports. Some effort is required to cut, sand and gesso these panels for painting but when they are all stacked ready to go there is a wonderful momentum to go out and paint. These mounted boards can be hung as is or displayed in a floating frame.
In the winter I may go back to a sketch that I really enjoyed doing and try to capture that feeling in a larger canvas. My tolerance for painting small sketches outdoors in the cold is improving (minus five) and I have learned to use my vehicule door as a shelter from the wind.
Even if the painting session does not produce a masterpiece, I always feel elated having spent time in nature....listening and looking.