[Cultural Currents]

Ron Bolt

Ron Bolt grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario, but it was the play of light on the water off the coast of Newfoundland that set him on his journey as an artist. He had visited the east coast for employment, not necessarily inspiration, but that one glint of sunlight on the immense drama of the Atlantic Ocean struck him like … well … a bolt of lightning. The challenge the young man from Toronto faced was how to preserve that mesmerizing moment.

For over fifty years Ron Bolt has chased that moment all over the world, capturing the fleeting nature of light and bringing the almost permanent solidity of the water into relief. Painting infinity in a spark of light, the poets might say.

Bolt’s landscape paintings are on display at a retrospective of his work running from October 14 through January 5 at the Art Gallery of Northumberland. The exhibit includes works from Canada’s northern and coastal regions as well as Mexico and the U.S.

Although Bolt uses a camera to initially capture the views, he is not a photographer. The camera is just a tool to bring home the image; he then unpacks it, enlarges it for detail, and the painting begins. And what he paints is the singularity of a human in a moment awestruck by the dance of light on the water, known only to his eye – there and then gone.

But not gone now.

Story by:
Will Mcguirk

[Winter 2023/2024 departments]