24"x36" acrylic on canvas

"Distant Memory," is an ongoing series of paintings and the product of my preoccupation with abstractions of leaves, branches, and sky.

I bring the meditative style and techniques of watercolour painting to my work in acrylics, in building layer upon layer of pure transparent colour to create dimension and movement, and to allow light and the human eye to blend the colours on the canvas.

A limited palette (and in most examples only the primary colours) challenges me to paint as rich a vision as possible from very little, but also taps into a childlike view of the natural world, as if the images were pulled from distant memory and nostalgia; hence the softness and blurring imparted by the rounded brushstroke.

While the dabs of paint are vaguely impressionistic or neo-impressionistic, my influences are mostly literary. When I paint I think of imagist poetry like Ezra Pound's "petals on a wet, black bough" and William Carlos Williams' red wheelbarrow "glazed with rain/water." What moves me as a landscape artist is the way one fleeting moment in nature -- the flutter of a leaf or blossom -- can connect with personal narrative, the way it does in a poem like Robert Hass' "Meditation at Lagunitas," in which a single word is suffused with nostalgia and longing, evoking "such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry."

Vivian Wong, Toronto, 2014 [ more paintings ]