Painting in the Rain
A short documentary by Frank Lee
Canadian watercolor painter David Antonides embarks on an experiment to incorporate the rain and other natural elements into his large-format painting of a Vancouver fishing dock. As the cotton paper endures the effects of rain, wind and sun, what transforms most is how the boating community and passersby think of fine art.
David Antonides paints large-format watercolours. His approach creates a depth, weight and drama not normally associated with such a transparent and fragile medium.
Born in Whitehorse, David now lives in Berlin, and because he regularly visits New York and BC, many of his paintings capture these urban landscapes in dark, intense tones. Suggestions of cabs, skyscrapers, and bustling crowds wash through white space tinged blue or vibrant orange.
He’d also spent time living in Vancouver, on a sailboat near Granville Island. Years later, as a tribute to the shifting coastal weather that he felt more intensely below deck, he decided to paint a nautical work entitled Traverse.
In Painting in the Rain David returns to BC to embark on a six-week experiment to incorporate the natural elements into this artwork. Knowing the dock area is accessible to the public day and night, he moves the 8’ x 8’ canvas outside after several weeks of preparation, and affixes it to the railing of Dock C in order to invite nature to collaborate in his work.
Over nine days the cotton paper endures the effects of rain, wind and sun, and forces him to make difficult artistic choices that alter the painting with each passing day. Some consider Traverse’s shifting nature an ideal metaphor for Canada’s changing fishing industry — but what transforms even more than the canvas itself is the way the marine community and seawall pedestrians think about fine art as they stop to discuss the role it plays in their lives.