The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is hosting its first “Artist in Residence” this summer as it kicks a local chapter of the parks service program designed to showcase America’s national parks. The Artist in Residence (AIR) program invites an artist to come and capture the sights and sounds of a national park, often providing accommodation for the artist. There is no stipend, but the experience usually allows for public presentations and displays of the artist’s completed pieces.
Linda Hyatt Cancel was chosen as the first AIR for Lake Roosevelt and has been capturing different scenes and impressions this summer in oil paintings that will showcase at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) in Spokane on Sept. 18.
Hyatt Cancel, a native of the area, returned home after 20 years of living and working as a professional artist in South Carolina.
The painter said being chosen as the Artist in Residence was a “dream come true.”
“I have missed this area so much and to have a platform to do this work; it just blows me away,” she said.
Hyatt Cancel said she began oil painting at age 12 with her teacher, William F. Pogue.
“I still remember the exhilaration of putting pigment on canvas, producing the appearance of form, light, and shadow,” she recalled. “I continued study in his art classes until enrolling at Spokane Falls Community College where my major was Visual Merchandising and Display Design.”
Hyatt Cancel said the college training helped “enhance” her understanding of the impact of color and design, contrast, and repetition in order to “attract the attention of the viewer within a few seconds.”
“Painting, for me, is an expression of interest in history, geography, language, and anthropology,” Hyatt Cancel said. “Most of the works, especially Pacific Northwest scenes, are a diary and not as literal as they appear.”
The exhibit of the Lake Roosevelt works has been challenging for Hyatt Cancel, who said she set a goal of finishing 35 paintings within 10 months.
“To create this exhibition in this amount of time has been intense,” she said. “I am working hard to show the best I can create.”
When choosing what kinds of scenes to capture at Lake Roosevelt, Hyatt Cancel said it has been hard to narrow down the list.
“When you grow up here, this area is your back yard and you have favorite places,” she related. “It’s been hard to select which ones to paint.”
Although Hyatt Cancel has been living in her own accommodations near the lake, the program does plan to have lodgings available for future artists.
For future AIRs to Lake Roosevelt, Hyatt Cancel has a recommendation.
“If you take the time to absorb the beauty, the history and the atmosphere here, it can quiet your soul,” she said.
The time for the Sept. 18 exhibit at the MAC has yet to be determined, but updates will be posted on the Lake Roosevelt NPS website: https://www.nps.gov/laro. Applications are also being taken for the 2017 AIR. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, 2016.
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff