Appellate Judge James A. Stewart likes landscape to amuse.
Our review of Landscape As Muse: Season 5, published June 16th, 2010, is also available.
"I do have this wild, private piece of landscape."—Marlene Creates
In Landscape as Muse: Season 4, artists share their private pieces of Canada's landscape with viewers. This show originally ran on a Canadian network called Bravo!, but you won't find fashionistas, chefs, or allegedly real housewives anywhere in its six episodes.
The episodes, numbered forty to forty-five in the complete series, are as follows:
• "The Rock to the Rockies" with David Alexander
• "The Beaver" with Mary Ann Barkhouse
• "In the Pines" with Robert Wiens
• "Faces in the Land" with Dempsey Bob
• "The Tolt, The Droke, & The Blasthole Pond River"
with Marlene Creates
• "Boggy Creek" with Joe Fafard
While I'd imagine that the main focus of Landscape as Muse is intended to be the artists, the natural scenes shown could be at least as much of a draw. Even if you have no artistic ability or interest whatsoever, you could probably enjoy Landscape as Muse as a relaxing, scenic travel show. The shots of Canada's landscape are all beautiful, and splendidly rendered for television. There's narration from the artists as they explain their inspirations, and it combines with gentle music and ambient nature sounds.
If you have an interest in art, watching the artists at work is also compelling. Probably the most interesting moments of this sort were watching Mary Ann Barkhouse work with a blowtorch as she refines her beaver sculpture and seeing Dempsey Bob putting the finishing touches on his carvings in a high-traffic building, seemingly far removed from the natural landscape that inspired him.
Each episode briefly touches on the facts behind the nature with text on the screen. My favorite: "Apart from humans, no single animals makes greater changes to nature than the beaver." Watching the beavers constantly adding to their dams and lodges could have you wondering whether their compulsion to work comes from the external need of breaches in their handiwork or an internal need to build. After all, the beavers could be considered artists of the natural landscape as well, and their motivations would influence the finished sculpture.
I can't imagine a show like this appearing in the United States, even on public television or a cable outlet like Discovery or Travel Channel, let alone lasting five seasons, as the show's Web site tells me. It's just too quiet a show. However, viewers with an artistic interest and a reflective mood could find Landscape as Muse fascinating.
Not guilty. Muse is a worthwhile part of the television landscape.
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