Student Profile - Heather Manson


Heather Manson, Salish Sea, BC Ferries and Canmore, AB (watercolour mixing study)

Heather Manson is an OCAD U School of Continuing Studies student, who has completed her Art and Design Studio Skills Certificate. As part of a recent cross-country road trip across Canada, Heather found herself drawing and painting from the passenger seat of her vehicle. She was able to complete assignments for her courses while travelling, with hours spent staring at the road ahead. Each of her studies started with the line of the road, the Trans Canada Hwy 1, which unifies the series of sketches and her travels. 

Heather began to see beauty in the form, line, and colour of asphalt paving that varied by geography, time of day, road conditions, and weather. Utilitarian objects like telephone poles and bales of hay became interesting markers of scale and distance. Clouds changed over the course of the day, being fluffy and backlit at one moment, heavy and ponderous the next. Rocky landscapes, flat fields of canola, and the quickly changing scenery of the mountains presented different challenges. A gathering storm east of Calgary was frightening to witness and exciting to capture. The final watercolour was done on a BC ferry – still on Hwy 1!

Each study represents an amalgam of fleeting ideas and intense observations about the road in that part of the country. This was a liberating exercise for Heather, and her need for exactitude in representation dissolved as the miles sped by. She enjoyed capturing her observations, it was perfect for learning and experimentation.

Heather looks forward to continuing the practice of drawing and painting from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, and maybe translating some of these into larger works in the studio. These projects were for the courses, Watercolour Painting Studio and Drawing Skills Studio 1.


Heather Manson, East of Pangman, Sask and Growing storm, west of Brooks, AB (pencil sketches)

Heather Manson, Stretch break in the passenger seat, Wawa, ON