Thursday 12 November 2020

Interview with artist and GAS member Carman McCabe

Joanne Filletti here, director & member of GAS. The following is the first of many artist interviews I hope to conduct in the coming months. The objective is to provide added insight into the artist and the artwork exhibited @ GAS. You will find a link to the artwork on display at the end of the article. 

I spoke with member artist Carman McCabe who recently had her solo show, ARCTIC, 

here at GAS. The The following excerpt is from that  conversation.

Why the Arctic and when did the trip take place?

The trip took place in August 1990. I was 56 years of age. I had gone back to school to study 

art @ OCA. At the time I belonged to an artist association. They received 

permission from the government to go to the arctic for 10 days. So I went along.

The Arctic Pond Inlet was closed to public at that time.

Now cruise ships are allowed to venture into Baffin Bay docking at various inlets, exposing 

the Inuit culture to the public. This of course has caused changes to the landscape and the 

Inuit culture.

Where did you stay?

We stayed in customized trailers provided by the government for people permitted to visit the 


What did the group do when you got there?

Some of the group remained and painted indoors from a model.   

I ventured out onto the tundra painting different aspects of the Inuit community. That is where I 

met some of the Inuit people.

How did you communicate with the locals?

Some of the hotel workers and young people spoke English and government workers all 

spoke English. They were always available to mediate if there was a language barrier with 

some of the Inuit. 

What medium and size did you work with on site?

Watercolour. The size of my pad was  approx. 18” x 24”, which I placed on my lap. 

How did you manage with watercolours, the water not freezing?

The problem in that atmosphere is that the watercolours evaporate instantly so I had to be 

very quick with the application of the paint and the composition. I painted what I saw.

Most of the paintings in the show were painted in 2019/20. 

What happened to the originals?

I have the book of the original sketches, the inspiration for these paintings.

Finally, do you have a unique memory to share with our audience/readers?

With watercolour painting I used pure water that had melted from an iceberg. The Inuit make 

their tea from the melted iceberg, a long held belief thought to provide lasting strength.

Carman McCabe artwork