Josy Britton is a Canadian artist, an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours (CSPWC), the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA), and an Elected and Honorary Member and Past- President of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) who lives in an oak savannah forest with her husband Gordon. Josy sees the potential of ‘peace on earth’ in nature when camping and canoe tripping and expresses this desire in her art. Josy graduated with an honours BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo in 1979. Josy’s paintings have hung in over 95 juried, group and solo exhibitions in public and commercial galleries in South-western Ontario including three solo exhibitions in Toronto and across Canada from the Layton Gallery in St. John’s Newfoundland to the Gainsborough Gallery in Calgary, Alberta. Josy is constantly inspired by miracles in nature and compelled to paint and share her eyes’ interpretations. Understanding Josy’s paintings will change the way you experience nature.
My Water Lilies celebrate a chapter of artistic transformation. After more then 30 years of painting almost exclusively in watercolour, the brush has become an extension of my hand and I can picture the end result before beginning. Diving into encaustics challenged me to stay present and ask new questions. This journey began one morning while paddling my canoe, the Little Tripper. Noticing the sunlight’s dance of light and shadow on lily pads, I was struck by their waxy appearance, which inspired the change of medium. The game changer was a visit to MOMA – while standing awe-struck before Monet’s mural sized triptych, Water Lilies, I felt compelled to work bigger. In Liz’ Lilies, Late September, A Million Answers and Turning Over an Old Leaf I played with texture and depth on a larger scale. Stepping back reveals a landscape of great depth, rich with details inviting close up examination. Close up one realizes that much of the paint is fragmented jewels of colour, which one’s eyes transform into unified identifiable objects.
I turn to nature for rejuvenation, inspiration and invigoration. The Look Way Up Series was conceived on a wilderness canoe trip in Temagami after an intense portage. Carrying my canoe overhead forces my gaze downwards, focused on the path just ahead. As I gently lay my canoe down at the water’s edge, I was free to look up, as if for the first time. Humbled by the majestic beauty of an old growth tree, I felt connected with my purpose. My paintings capture the physical and spiritual essence of the natural world. Witnessing its complex interdependence, simultaneously fragile and robust, I am called to my studio to mirror how this reality of unity and harmony can exist within us. Exploring the Muir Woods near San Francisco inspired the paintings in this series that I’ve brought to New York, but sunlight is my primary subject, as light and shadow reveal the infinite nuances of colour.
To create watercolours on rag, I divide the paper’s surface into overlapping jewels of transparent watercolour. My watercolours on yupo paper are painted in a subtractive technique of my own invention. My encaustics are painted with melted wax working first with large brushes and a heat gun to cover the wood surface, and then building up layers using smaller and smaller brushes, fusing the wax together with heat. My paintings look realistic from a distance but are quite abstract up close. My hope is that my paintings will change the way you see the forest, perhaps glimpsing the innate harmony possible in the world.