Willa Wilson, Northern Pike
When the lockdown was declared in my rural part of the world, it was still winter. People here were rushing off to places in the sun for their school holidays, and when they came back some of them brought an unwelcome guest.
For those of us who stayed, it was a very quiet time, but also a time of anxious expectation. There was snow, and everyone was waiting for the promise of spring. This is always a special time of year, but this year the change of the seasons was a tonic that we all needed, even if we were to stay in our homes.
I began working on this piece, “Northern Pike”, when the snow was still deep around the trees behind my house, where the swamp drains into a river, which drains into a lake. The rising spring sun threw long blue shadows toward me, across the little hills and drifts.
Underneath the snow, I knew, life was beginning again. Beginning with the snow shadows, the piece developed and became a metaphor for the renewal that we all hoped for (and continue to hope for). The melting snow would flow in rivulets into the lakes, cracking the ice, and underneath that would lay the monster pike.
When I was a child growing up in this land of lakes and rivers, the first sport of the spring was to fish for great Northern Pike – fresh food for the table after a long winter. It is not for me to say if this fish would be caught or if it would swim free for years to come. Nature will take its course, as it will with the virus. I take hope from the fact that the unseen, the things below, are powerful symbols of the positive in the world.
Monotype and watercolour pencil on Arches 15″ h x 20″ w Image size: 10.5” h x 15” w
Willa Wilson grew up in an isolated island community in northern Ontario, Canada. After many years away, she returned to her roots, from which she draws inspiration both as place and as memory. Through linocuts, monotypes, drawing and multi-media pieces she considers the seen and unseen, often through observed, but also through remembered or imaginary landscapes. She has a BFA in visual arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where she specialized in lithography. Works have been shown across Canada and are held in many personal collections. She is a member of the Manitoulin Fine Art Association, is currently working on a commissioned series of linocuts for poetry illustration and has most recently shown her work locally during Art Tours.
Member page, Manitoulin Fine Arts Assoc.: