Last weekend, with the help of the whole family, we got to work setting up for growing a new batch of woad here in Conestoga. Using old tires from the garage beside my studio, we set up fifty planters for what I hope will create an ideal place for last year’s woad seeds to grow. It … Read more
“What van Donkelaar does is … have fun, learn from everywhere and teach as he learns.” —Mr. Stephen Strauss, CBC News.
Yukon · British Columbia · Alberta · Saskatchewan · Ontario · Quebec · New Brunswick · Prince Edward Island · Nova Scotia
My pilgrimages are the journeys I take to find and collect small samples of such local colours. All of my artistic work begins with a place and its pigments. These, “local colours” come from an area’s soil, minerals, or even its plants, and fascinate me as an intersection between material colour and a community. Sometimes these trips are done by myself, but more often I’m with others who share with me their experience and love of a place. With their help, I come back from my local colour pilgrimage with a story and a bit of earth to begin my work.
I’ve wanted to visit the Kootenay Paint Pots since I first read about them a decade ago—and last week I did! Since a conference at the Banff … Read more
I doubt if the previous camper at the site knew that she’d been collaborating on an art project with me … Last week my family … Read more
The Dempster highway is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. As it winds it’s way north, it would have eventually taken me to the … Read more
It’s hard to believe how much things have changed during my first week in Dawson City. When I arrived last Sunday, the Yukon River was … Read more
“[Symeon] comes across as a really beautiful and knowledgeable and dedicated person. You can see in him what art must have meant in so many cultures in the pre-modern period.” —Fr. Dan Donovan, St. Michael’s College.
Finding the pigment in the earth, represents a very different part of my practice. My aim is to create a colour which is of good quality without loosing its connection to where it came from. To that end, the processes I use are not as much about purifying the colour as fulfilling it. My records which I keep from all these experiments often become artworks in their own right, and a number these have become the bases of ongoing projects and/or gallery installations aimed at sharing the potential of local colour.
Last weekend, with the help of the whole family, we got to work setting up for growing a new batch of woad here in Conestoga. Using … Read more
Last week I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful bunch of people out in Edmonton, Alberta in celebrating, finishing, and perhaps resurrecting Betty … Read more
The annual harvest of our woad patch is something I look forward to every year. While it seems that the weather rarely cooperates (at least … Read more
As I wrote about in my previous post, my family and I spent a couple of weeks exploring northern Ontario last month. While the residency … Read more
“[Symeon’s] unique style of art truly signifies how beautiful Canada is.” —Ms. Nicole Dupuis, Parks Canada.
Contextualizing the local colours I collect through art objects, collections, and diagrams allows me to share them as something more than their earthy materials. These works aim to open an experience of earth colour within the realm of the sacred—drawing from the experience of orthodox iconography and the stories embedded in the hieroglyphs of the First Nation Peoples. In this, the colours are understood to be revelational, and remains stylistically dominant in the work created.
Last week I had the chance to spend a week in the city of Montreal, while there to present a workshop for the annual Canadian Society of … Read more
When the KW Gem and Mineral Club asked if I’d share some of what I’m up to at their 50th anniversary celebration at Kitchener City … Read more
I doubt very much that when my children’s teachers required them to bring crayons to class that they expected what followed—the creation of the first … Read more
[fve][/fve] Last week I was up at Christopher Lake in Saskatchewan teaching about making paints from soil for a course at the University of Saskatchewan. … Read more