Monday, January 30, 2017

Starry nights and mystical landscapes

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO for short) has an amazing exhibition called Mystical Landscapes.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was an astounding, inspirational experience. 

The exhibit features work by Gauguin, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe, Emily Carr, Chagall and so many more. There are TWO Monet Waterlilies and, if you ask me, they weren't even close to the highlight of the exhibit.

As you near the very end of the exhibit you are greeted by the piece "Crystal Castle at Sea" by Wenzel Hablik. 

No pictures I could find of this piece do it justice. It catches your eye and pulls you to it. And as we drew near, we saw that the final room of the exhibit was dimmed, the work illuminated in the dark.

Immediately catching my attention, another Hablik (whom I'd never heard of before, but clearly it was love at first sight) "Sternenhimmel Versuch". A large piece, 2 square meters, looking at it illuminated in the dark was like looking up at the universe.

Then you turn around, and on the opposite wall, dancing in the dark, is Vincent van Gogh's, "Starry Night over the Rhône".

Life changing.

One review said "It looks as though it could have been painted last week." Truth! It's so vibrant and alive that the paint still looks wet. 

I left the gallery with a renewed energy and desire to make. This weekend I set to painting my own big space canvas in the spirit of Hablik. 

A large canvas that had been sitting in my studio, unfinished for two years, had received a celestial makeover. While it won't be to everyone's taste, it's one of my favourite pieces I've created and I like that it will be keeping me company in my studio.

But I don't think it's totally complete. I like the idea of maybe adding new stars and planets to mark good moments and positive happenings in my life. Hopefully that canvas will be covered in starlight in no time at all.


  1. Hello from Germany~! *waves*

    What a wonderful, inspiring idea. ♥ Wish I could see that exhibition, it sounds incredibly awesome.

  2. Thank you! I love what you have done here!

  3. What inspiration, Heavenly! Love your canvass!xx

  4. Wow! Lucky you to have seen all of those wonderful artists to be inspired by! From reading your post, sounds like you truly had a spiritual if not magical awakening ")
    I love your canvas0 it truly is magical and as I sat here looking at it, I swear I see faces moving out of the center!
    Well done Nichola, you inspire me! thank you ,my friend xo

    1. ps...
      Never heard of Habik before so I googled him,of course, and his art is amazing! thanks for turning me on to him...much reading to do now ")

  5. I haven't been to any museum or gallery in years. I miss that living rural part of things.
    But I have to say a museum would probably hate my arse right now bc I would go roaring around trying to touch things and I would probably not be quiet about it lol!
    I ❤️ love love that Hablik universe painting and of course I always love Van Gogh. And I love the Battilana too. It would be lovely to create a universe if some sort for my work room. I have always wanted an astrolabe
    And a model of the planets that I can move around ( when I feel goddess like) I think there is a name for those too but it escapes me. Wonderful blog as usual

  6. Orrery. I would love to have or make one. Lol!

  7. I absolutely LOVE your painting; in fact, I like it better than Hablik's. I think its composition and use of color are amazing! Fantastic work!!!

  8. Oh my goodness. I have so much to say to you. Thank you for bringing this exhibit to us. I live in Kentucky and there is little chance that I will ever make it up there to see this incredible display of art. Thank you for sharing your work of celestial art, and the concept of continually celebrating life's happiest moments by adding stars and planets to your beautiful galaxy. That idea really brings me joy.

  9. So lovely! Thank you for sharing the experience and I am so happy to hear that you were/are wonderfully inspired!

    I must look Hablik up too!

    We have been talking of buying a home and one of the first things we agreed upon was it must have a room we can give an astral theme too, the ceilings, the walls etc etc glow in the dark paints and polymer . . .who knows. . .but the effect we are going for is quite the same.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your painting Nichola! Though it is in a completely different vein, I still often think of your Doctor/Tom Baker painting. . . :)

  10. You have a
    Painting of Tom Baker Dr Who with 'the' scarf?!?!? Do show! That was my Dr Who back in the day.
    Would love to see it !

    1. That was my Dr. too! I probably painted it nearly 10 years ago. You can see him at the bottom of this post

    2. I love him! And The Scarf! That is a great closet for the Kid too lol thanks for posting that. I really love your paintings.
      SOMEDAY I am gonna make me a Dr Who scarf which my son will probably make off with lol