Paintings by Afton Brazzoni of the dramatic landscapes of the Canadian Rockies
It's hard not to be inspired by the breathtaking landscapes of Canada when you've spent most of your life surrounded by them. It's what sparks most of Afton Brazzoni's oil paintings, an artist currently based in Cochrane, Alberta.
Originally from the maritime province of Nova Scotia, Afton Brazzoni has a deep connection to water and rugged landscapes. Many of her works are inspired by the Canadian Rockies where she lived for nearly 10 years with her husband, two dogs and two cats. "I have always been drawn to nature," she tells Creative Boom. "Its majesty and magic, its silence and stillness. Days spent exploring the beaches and forests of Nova Scotia as a child turned into a decade of discovering the trails of the Canadian Rockies in my 20s. I first captured these beloved landscapes through the medium of photography. In recent years, I have begun to translate my images into paintings."
Working with oil on canvas, Afton aims to convey both the grandeur and detail of nature in her art. She describes her style as largely realistic, and similar in both colour and composition to her reference photos. "The process of revisiting some of my most cherished moments in nature through painting brings me joy, and I hope to convey a sense of peace and awe in my work," she says.
Looking at Wandering With Winston, we see stunning rolling landscapes decorated with the autumnal hues of local trees and foliage, bursting with calming forest greens, oranges and reds. "Many hikers in Alberta are captivated by golden larch trees and the magical atmosphere they create in the mountains and I feel the same way," says Afton. "This painting was inspired by a photograph I took while hiking the Pocaterra Cirque trail in Kananaskis with my dog Winston during our first hiking season together. Spending time in nature with my dogs brings me the greatest happiness and peace in life. The painting draws viewers into a larch forest full of depth and highlights the many variations in the surrounding mountains, all beneath a perfect sky for an autumn hike."
Elsewhere in her painting titled Alone, we see a lone tree set against the backdrop of a stormy sky. "I believe we all must learn to stand alone and weather the emotions that this state of being can bring," she explains. "This painting was inspired by a photograph I took at Grande Pre National Historic Site in Nova Scotia a decade ago in 2012." It's a place that's special to Afton because she visited it every fall as a child with her parents and grandparents. "The way the tree stood alone on the landscape captivated me when I photographed it, and it still enchants me today," she adds.
In Alpine Gem, we see a painting inspired by hiking an 18 kilometres round trip through the Banff National Park wilderness. "It has its rewards when you reach Healy Pass," she says. "In this stunning mountain pass, the fields are full of vibrant red, purple and yellow wildflowers in July. It is one of the most memorable hikes I've ever done for the terrain and scenery. On this particular day, my cousin was visiting from Nova Scotia and accompanied me on the hike. It was wonderful to share the local landscape with her."
While in Quiet Morning Drive, Afton says winter mornings are a time for quiet reflection. "On the day I took this particular drive along the winding Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, the iconic Castle Mountain was set against a blue sky. The idea of changing the painting to a sunrise scene appealed to me. It was my first foray into straying from the original reference photograph, as well as my first winter scene. I hope you enjoy this little slice of Banff National Park as much as I do. The Bow Valley Parkway is a beautiful drive, and a great place for wildlife watching, hiking and cross-country skiing."