What is your personal reaction to the play?
"Experiencing this play makes me think about our current war and what our soldiers will feel after. This thought hit me hard. I was touched with the raw human feeling ghosting from the three veterans of WWI in this play."
Why do you think you are suited to create art for this play?
"I too like to look to the future, the characters used a motif of a dog to transport their imagination, I use canoe vessels and trails to help me see the beauty over the horizon."
Some pieces that you think work particularly well in relation to this play?
"The painting "Gather of Trees" typifies the message of the play. The autumn poplars echo the autumn or end of life and new beginnings. These are brave soldiers who survived, who are surviving old age the best they
know how by looking forward, following the path in their minds eye to the beauty and mystery of a stand of
Is there anything about your medium/ working methods you would like to highlight?
"The medium of watercolour leaves no room for error and the paper of choice is delicate yet strong. Each brush stroke is firm, exact and permanent. The result is a direct, deep and profound emotional response to the world around me"
Irving Greenbery Theatre Centre,
Lorraine 'Fritzi' Yale Gallery
June 8 - August 1, 2010
October 2 to November 6, 2009
Rebecca Mason's solo
at GALERIE MCKENZIE MARCOTTE
26 Sully Road, Wakefield, Quebec, Canada
Gallery McKenzie Marcotte comments on their exhibition of Mason's work.
In this latest series of paintings. Rebecca has returned to painting the forest and trees. Drawing upon their strength and vulnerability, she does not attempt to recreate them but rather to revisit memories of hallowed places where she has found peace, tranquility and understanding. This journey of recollection draws upon both the conscious and unconscious to gain insight and to express in
colour, line and emotion the preciousness and the fragility of the natural world.
Galerie McKenzie Marcotte gallery's website at
August 5 - 30, 2009
with Rebecca Mason and
at Cube Gallery
7 Hamilton Ave. N. Ottawa,
Rebecca Mason and Reid McLachlan have been working and living together
for decades, both achieving recognition for their separate practices.
However, this is the first time these artists have appeared together
in a major duo show. Cube is proud to correct this surprising
oversight with the exhibition “Indelible Souls”.
Indelible Souls showcases their startlingly diverse styles and subject
matter and yet reveals how they are intrinsically bound by the passions
they share. In both of their work I find the world of theatre is
invoked. Reid’s work reminds me of the action on stage, the characters
and their props. Each one of his pieces seems to imply an entire
narrative, stories of passion, love and loss. Becky seems to me more
about the subtlety of the back stage. Her work is like the setting of
the mood, the play of light on the backdrop. Her pieces are quiet and
less apparent than the action on the stage, but look closer and they
help to reveal the hidden magic that works almost subconsciously in the
stories being told.
Completely different in approach and media, but joined in life, both
painters create powerful images that, once seen, are impossible to
erase ..... INDELIBLE.
Don Monet: Curator,
Staring at a lonely tree takes memory to art for Mason
"Nellie Portage" by Rebecca Mason displayed at
Galerie McKenzie Marcotte from Oct. 2 - Nov. 6.
New Mason exhibit at Galerie McKenzie Marcotte By Trevor Greenway
From the The Low Down to Hull and Back News September 23, 2009
Becky Mason relies on her memory quite a bit. The Chelsea
painter uses it almost every day in her studio to imprint
emotions onto paper from locations she has visited.
"I generally formulate the painting in my mind,"
said Mason from her studio on Hwy 105 in Chelsea.
"I think a lot when I paint."
Instead of scoping out a location and painting a rock face
on site like most landscape painters do, Mason just sits in
nature, sometimes staring at one lonely tree for two hours
before going back into the studio to put her thoughts onto
"I'm just soaking it in." said Mason.
"It's imprinting in my memory."
Mason said that there are some challenges that arise when
using this method, especially when she is a away from her
studio for long periods of time, making it tough for her
to keep her memories fresh. "I can't wait too long before
I lose them," she said. "I need to paint every three
days or I lose the memory." Mason's new upcoming show at
the McKenzie Marcotte Gallery in Wakefield is the culmination
of the last two years of Mason's memories of trees. From trips
she takes with her canoeing students, to hiking adventures in
the area, Mason's new show entitled "Sublimation"
features about 16 paintings of forests and trees that carry
with them, the emotion she felt when she was standing in the
locations. Mason won't go for a quick hike and then return to
her studio immediately to paint, instead, she may take the
same hike ten times to get the "overall feel" of the
nature she stands on. "I call it imprinting," she
said. "Taking a print for the emotion that I have for the
land." Mason's paintings in "Sublimation" are
watercolour based works of art that boast colour and imagery
that are recognizable to our area. Her medium of Japanese rice
paper leaves no room for error, as the paint absorbs directly
into the fibres of the paper. She also uses the rice paper as
a tool, by wrinkling it to "give the paintings more
"Sublimation" begins on Oct. 2 and runs until
Nov. 6. For more information, visit the gallery's website at
Thanks to the Low to Hull and Back News for permission to reprint their art review by Trevor Greenway
PDF of Low Down to Hull in Back newspaper article
Parallel Lives by Phil Jenkins.
From The Low down To Hull and Back, July 29, 2009
that’s what we’re doing here,” Becky Mason says cheerfully, and she claps
her hands. She steps out of her Chelsea home in the woods, walks under the four
cedar strip canoes of various repair slung above the carport, and waves farewell
after an hour of gentle interrogation by me about her art. Now, she is grateful
to be outdoors; Mason prefers skies to ceilings.
Mason’s hands are very adept at holding a brush or paddle; when the paddle is
in her grip these days, more often than not she is teaching. It’s her summer
job, passing on to many local canoeists and outlying paddlers in a wide radius
the considerable skills her father Bill taught her. Bill Mason was a famous
canoeist and a painter, and an undeniable influence on his daughter in that he
helped her to look at nature with a clear, loving eye.
the brush strokes replace the paddle strokes, Becky produces, on creased
Japanese rice paper, delicate, light-filled watercolours that reflect what her
inner eye has seen of natural beauty. A friend, so she tells me, bought the
paper in a fire sale; eight hundred wet but salvageable sheets for $5. The day
is coming soon when the paper will be all used up, a testimony to her years of
from the house at the moment is her husband, Reid McLachlan. He’s still at
work. The two artists met at the High School of Commerce many moons ago and have
led proximitous lives ever since. Reid too works to the Canadian rhythm of many
artists--earn enough in the summer to paint and create a stock of canvases
through the winter; for twenty years, he has worked four months of the year as a
canoe builder and repairer at Trailhead in Ottawa—the owner, Wally Schaber,
is a patron of the arts and we could use many more like him. When he gets home
Reid, who has inherited his mother’s art-gene, will not be long out of his
studio, an outbuilding crammed with finished canvases and art–paraphernalia,
and CDs scattered like leaves and palettes with stalagmites of paint rising up
from them. It’s a room I would chose as the set for a film about an artist
obsessed with getting to the next canvas, to the next discovery. Becky does not
go in there much; she is allergic, in a wince-inducing twist of fate, to
oil-based paints, a physical fact that almost killed her when it manifested
and Reid clearly have the tricky art of living together down (there is a
wonderful book by Phyllis Rose called Parallel Lives that analyses the
marriages of twin highly creative people) and it seems to be based on enormous
respect for each other’s work, even as their styles on the canvas are studies
in contrast. In her studio room within the house, Becky thinks gives deep
thought to her next series--it might be mountains, ice storms or canoes or waves
on a shore, currently it’s trees--and then executes them rapidly, almost as
though she is on auto-memory. Reid in his joyous confinement is steadily
outputting portraits of characters from a narrative that we must divine by
looking good and hard into his flesh-tones and grey-blues and then as hard into
ourselves. There is an answer there somewhere; the trick is putting your hands
on it. There are no people in Becky’s works; there are
always people in Reid’s.
for the first time in all their very productive years together, they are having
a joint show, an event in their joint lives that produces a smile whenever they
mention it. Their home is actually a joint gallery, of course. I couldn’t help
but envy them the ability to decorate your home with wonderful art with your
name on it. Starting at the end of next week, the energetic, innovative Cube
Gallery in Ottawa, down near the colourful Parkdale Market will host the
portentously entitled Indelible Souls. Until September, the walls at Cube
will mimic the walls of the Mason/McLachlan home and testify to inner workings
of these two braided people. Sounds like a cause for celebration to me.
to the Low to Hull and Back News for permission to reprint Parallel
Lives by Phil Jenkins.
Becky Mason, Dancing on Water by Catherine Joyce
Reprinted from the The Low Down to Hull
& Back News Oct 19, 2005
Becky Mason is happiest with either a paddle or a paintbrush
in her hand. Her remarkable career as artist, master canoeist,
writer, public speaker and film-maker springs from the passion
for the land that has shaped her being since birth. Daughter
of legendary canoeist, photographer and film-maker, Bill Mason,
Becky has lived her whole life in the Gatineau Hills except
for her years studying at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto,
1983-86. Growing up on Meech Lake, she and her brother Paul
shared the backyard with 13 wolves her father was raising.
From an early age she accompanied him on canoe expeditions
with the family, where his Song of the Paddle
took shape on location on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
My father always encouraged me to pursue my art but
he wanted me to know what it takes to become a professional
artist to be able to do it all day, every day, and
still enjoy it, without any illusions about money or success.
My mother taught me how to manage a life of creativity
she was the emotional support, our sounding board.
The love of the land is in Beckys blood. It ties together
every aspect of her life. From April to October she teaches
canoeing on Meech Lake, drawing people from around the world
to experience her techniques. She has captured her reverence
for the ancient art of canoeing in her video on Classic Solo
Canoeing, and in the many slide presentations and lectures
she gives across North America.
Throughout the winter she paints, gathering inspiration from
the canoeing expeditions she undertakes with her artist husband,
Reid McLachlan. In 2003, as part of the Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Societys (CPAWS) northern wilderness canoeing
project, they paddled the Berens River in celebration of the
boreal forest and its diverse rivers, an experience she documented
for the exquisite 2004 book, Rendezvous with the Wild, The
Boreal Forest, edited by James Raffan.
Since 1987 Becky has had to contend with environmental allergies
to oil paints and other chemicals; therefore her materials
have been limited by her health. And yet there is an aptness
in her choice of watercolour on Japanese rice paper
a delicacy and grace in her painting that mirrors the fluid
elegance of her canoeing. Water ballet on paper. In her most
recent series on the boreal forest she attains the ethereal
purity of grasses flowing under water, in colours as light
and fleeting as music.
I paint what I know my vision of how I see the
land and water. Out in my canoe, I absorb my feelings. I am
awestruck and bring back my memories and arrange them in my
mind. Then I paint, trying to recapture the emotions I felt
when I was out on the water. I sink into a dream and lose
all sense of time. A series can take me years to express the
feelings that lie layered inside me. I try to bring that depth
to each painting, to evoke that stillness of perception.
Becky Masons art bears the mark of such reverence
a quality of stained glass with the wilderness her cathedral.
Each season her paddle and her paintbrush bring her vision
Catherine Joyce, 2005.
Email: Catherine Joyce <email@example.com>
Mason is the daughter of renowned film-maker, author and painter
Bill Mason, and her work centres on many of the same themes: impressions
of her environment and how she reacts to the wilderness. She says
"I tend to do my paintings in themes using canoes, trees, and
mountains as my subject matter; at least those are my favourites.
I enjoy trying to get a likeness of their spirit in my paintings.
So, in my current tree paintings, I'm exploring that: how the edges
and the painting go together. As I work on the Japanese paper it's
almost like they float out to the edges."
"Mason's approach to her work is as soothing as the images,
which are soft but bright, complicated patterns - not unlike looking
at light coming through trees or across open water. She says "What
makes me happiest is when I'm in my studio with a piece of hand-made
paper, my brushes and watercolour paint. I usually begin all of
my works by wetting the whole sheet lightly and then just let the
painting unfold from my minds eye. It's like I'm writing a poem
on the page; like I'm writing a story on it, and that's how my inspiration
arrives sometimes. I don't really control it, it's my love of capturing
my feelings I get from my sense of place that comes out in my paintings."
Andrea Smith, Communication through
Hopscotch (Ottawa XPress, Thursday, May 29, 1997)
reprinted from the Ottawa Citizen Saturday May 24, 1997 entitled
All (that talent) in the Family by Paul Gessell, 1997)
Reid McLachlan and Rebecca Mason seem to have a marriage made in
heaven. They are both painters who met in art school 14 years ago.
They both have a thing about canoes. They both love living in the
"We do everything together," they both are prone to say.
There is, however, one problem: Mason is allergic to oil paints.
She uses watercolours in her work. But McLachlan uses oils.
Love, however, finds a way. Mason does her work in a room in their
home in rural Chelsea. McLachlan does his painting in a small outbuilding
in the backyard.
There is an advantage, McLachlan confesses, to Mason's allergy:
she stays out of his studio. Both are territorial about their workspace
and their work. They have learned what lines can and cannot be crossed.
"In my studio, if Reid comes in uninvited, I growl at him,
'Go away'," says Mason.
Likewise, she approaches McLachlan's studio with caution.
"I go outside and there's a window in his studio. I press my
nose against the window and try to peer inside. He's very secretive
when he paints. He doesn't want anyone to see him paint."
Peering inside McLachlan's studio, one sees a forest of bold canvasses
propped against the walls. Many of the busy portrait - like paintings
are steeped in mystery. Something has just happened. Or is about
to happen. There are suspicious - looking characters in the background.
There's a sense of playfulness but, simultaneously, a sense of forboding.
Inside the house, in Mason's studio, there is calm and order. She
paints ethereal canoes and water scenes on delicate, creased rice
paper. Her's is a studio of pale blues and reassuring greens. McLachlan's
studio is awash in loud, unforgiving red.
"My restful spirit comes out in my paintings, the calming influence
of the things I love and live around - the Gatineau Hills, the trees
and canoes," says Mason.
"With Reid, there are more of his experiences from being in
Italy, the influence of symbolism. There's strong emotions that
come out in his painting, strong emotions of love, hate, anger.
My work cleans the soul and Reid's tends to agitate".
McLachlan sees their work as complimentary.
"Our work seems fairly compatible in a way. It's so different
that it tends to emphasise each other. We find our differences make
our work stronger."