Merle Harstone was born in Toronto, Ontario and now resides in the Caledon Hills with her husband, Richard. Merle's "passion for abstraction" was realized under the tutelage of artist Mary Wood and has been challenged by the critique of artist Lila Lewis Irving and an exhibit of works by the Automatiste (whose works have been researched by Roald Nasgaard and Ray Ellenwood and recorded in their work "The Automatiste Revolution, Montreal, 1941-1960", published by Douglas and McIntyre, 2009). Over time, Merle has become increasingly aware that colour, open spaces, sky, spontaneity, personal reflection, lessons learned, story, world view, the innate, and skitch are her sources of creativity.
Merle's early works use acrylic paints and collage to create spontaneous, adventurous, and whimsical objects that are unplanned and full of surprise.
Merle's current works include an assemblage of protrusions, light refractions, and shadows; they are spontaneous, edgy, roughly hewn, and raw; multiple elements including water, glass, paper, wood, wire, nails, adhesives, and paint are gathered and adhered to canvas to create evocative, stirring, weighted, moody, and mood lifting results.� From assemblage are borne new objects, stories, meditations.
"Painting is a process, a journey. Abstraction is an open ended journey.
Many things in life demand convergence, correctness, certainty, definitiveness; and to be sure, this has a place. However, there is also a place for freedom, discovery, and openness. Here enters divergence; choices unique to each of us; thinking outside the box; abstraction.
Abstraction is a divergent rather than convergent process. It is an invitation to possibility, expression, and spontaneity; it is a song, a dance, not yet written or choreographed that must be given voice and movement."