Artist Sharon Olson saw satellite photos on Google Earth of shifting sandbars on the South Saskatchewan River, and produced a series of abstract acrylic paintings in 2012 and 2014, which formed part of a travelling OSAC show with artist Kent Tate, called “Uncommon Landscapes”.
Sharon, who is formerly of North Weyburn, is a 30-year teacher at Caronport, and had the last showing of her exhibit brought to Weyburn at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery for the summer while she stays with her parents, Roland and Lois Olson.
The show has been on display throughout the province, and shows some different abstract impressions of the river, using blues, greens, whites and hints of reds and yellows.
She admitted some of these colours weren’t in the original photos, but these are her impressions and interpretations of the scenes.
“Finally, I could see it online, closer and closer, from a new perspective, one that I find sublime, one that people who don’t know the river might dismiss, seeing that it is in Saskatchewan where there is ‘nothing to see’,” said Sharon.
Her process of painting included first drawing out the shapes and using a thin masking tape for the lines, then she would paint some of the initial shapes and colours before taking the tape off and adding in touches of red and yellow.
In May, a week after the long weekend, she and her nephew took a canoe trip down the South Saskatchewan from Outlook to Saskatoon to see the river up close, and noted the river was high, so some of the sandbars she had painted from the satellite images were gone.
The subject of the paintings related back to her growing up years when she would see the river. “I was born next to this river, had stepped into this year, had run down the hill from my grandmother’s house on MacPherson to it, and had crossed its many bridges. I had seen it from all angles,” she said.
Sharon hopes to soon be taking retirement from teaching, and will then devote more of her time to her artistic passions of painting and photography.
Combined with her show was a display of three TV monitors showing Kent Tate’s moving images (filmed with a movie camera) of various landscape scenes, including Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, with a soundtrack that features NASA satellite recordings from space of the sounds of the solar wind travelling through the Earth’s magnetosphere.