Inspired by life in the woods

Grand Bend artist Josy Britton was recently honoured with entry into the Society of Canadian Artists. For each submission, the society’s jury looks at five paintings made within the last two years, examines the artist’s résumé and determines which would be a good representative of current art in Canada.

At told to Casey Lessard

We lived in Freelton and had 10 acres of maple trees. Gord’s work got transferred to Sarnia, and we were looking for a place there. Then Gord worked at the Bruce nuclear station and had to drive to his office in Sarnia. He had to pass through Grand Bend, and knew I had camped for years at the Pinery, so he timed how long it took to get from here to Sarnia.
He blindfolded me and brought me to what I thought was one of the houses in Sarnia. We stopped here on this lot and took off the blindfold with me looking up, and all I could see was this canopy of trees. He said, “Could you be happy here?” That’s how we ended up living here.

I have to live in a forest because I like feeling like I’m part of nature, and I think people can live in harmony with nature. I love every day looking outside when I wake up and seeing what kind of day it is.
Right now I’m working on a series of water paintings. I find it an exciting subject because water doesn’t stay still. The movement is fun to create.
My calling is to paint and I find it really easy to paint, but the other part of being an artist is the promotional part, which doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had shows in Toronto, but I don’t have a gallery that represents me there. I think the next time I approach galleries, this will help give legitimacy to my request.
My long-term goal is to have work in the National Gallery or the Art Gallery of Ontario. This is a vote of confidence from my peers that my work deserves to be there. That’s what I’m hoping.

Paintings by Josy Britton