Local painter Tom Forrestall doesn’t like to paint from photographs.
He claims that approach to art is a deadly habit for most painters; he prefers to connect with his subjects in person.
In the fall of 2010, this heavily decorated Canadian artist traveled to Israel. Touring north to south and all points in between throughout this magical country, Forrestall brought back much more than memories.
Unveiled earlier this month and celebrated Thursday night with an opening reception at the Chase Art Gallery in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, the 25-piece collection of watercolours on paper titled 35 Days In Israel will remain on display through the month of February.
Featuring remarkable views of Israel as seen through the eyes of one of our most gifted painters, Forrestall is pleased he was able to translate the beauty of the country into his work.
“It’s always a revelation to watch it unfold before you — there’s always the element of risk especially when you’re painting outside as we were doing in Israel, sitting in front of the real place,” Forrestall said. “Artists do look at things differently — you look at that subject like you’ve never looked at anything before and in an odd way I almost become part of it because you’re so focused on it.” Forrestall connected with creativity at an early age. His father, a carpenter by trade, would doodle and sketch to keep the kids quiet.
“There’s something that gripped me about it and held me and I’ve been at it ever since. It’s never let me down,” he said. “Somehow or other, though most people can’t make a living as an artist, I always did. It never dawned on me that I wouldn’t.”
Talent without hard work is merely a therapeutic hobby. According to Forrestall, whose career spans several decades, creating his work has always been hard but never seen as a job.
“There is a lot of hard work but I think passion enters into these things as well,” he said. “You’re always reaching for perfection. No matter what you’re doing you’re always trying to do it better than yesterday and that drives one on as well.”
• What. 35 Days in Israel
• Where. Chase Art Gallery, Public Archives of Nova Scotia
• When. Through Feb. 28: Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.