Private collection, Edmonton
Knowles is noted as one of Canada’s finest landscape artists, and has been an active painter for nearly 70 years. The artist began to attend the now-famous Emma Lake Workshops in the 1950s, and it was here that her interest in landscape painting was founded. Over the years, she developed her own painting techniques, sometimes using diluted oil paint and charcoal to map out her compositions, and always with an air of abstraction.
“I find myself composing with colour”, Knowles noted in a 1972 interview with curator Terrence Heath, “I just let it go and it takes on its own rhythm”. The artist’s garden in Saskatoon has been a source of inspiratio over many years, and in 1992, Knowles produced multiple canvases of her vibrant plants. The title of this work, Nicotine, likely comes from the pink flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) that bloom across the center of the canvas.