I love painting Fernie’s historic streets and snowy landscapes. I use expressive brushwork and colour to illustrate the natural and built world that surrounds us, capturing the light and color of the snow weighing down the trees and the way Fernie’s man-made structures interact with the wild landscape. My artwork portrays a sense of place, not just a time or location, but the feeling experienced when in the landscape.
Growing up in rural Saskatchewan, I was always drawn to the creative arts. I studied drawing and painting at the University of Saskatchewan, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and Studio Art. During undergrad, I started creating imagined dreamscapes, bright coloured objects with layered washes of paint. Once I left the prairies for the mountains, I used the same style to capture the natural beauty surrounding Fernie.
After completing my degree, I backpacked through Europe with my engineer sister. I forced her to visit all the major art galleries, giving her art history lessons at each, from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam to the impressionist painters at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. We also explored the historic architecture of castles in Scotland, palaces in Venice, and Gaudi’s
buildings in Barcelona. It was thrilling and enlightening to see the brushworks of famous paintings in real life and to stand inside buildings I had only studied in books. Walking the historic streets and viewing the vivid paintings by famous artists influenced my series of Fernie’s streetscapes which mix the historic stone and brick buildings with impressionistic colour.
I returned to Saskatchewan to complete a diploma in Architectural Technology and Interior Design, combining my love of art with the problem solving of design. I enjoyed working in a field that combined art and math, painting and geometry. The manual and computer drafting lessons mixed with my painting background helped me create the perspectives of my streetscape paintings accurately while keeping the paintings loose and abstract.
After a few years working in an architecture firm in Saskatoon, designing and drafting schools and hospitals, my husband and I decided to uproot our lives and move to Fernie. He had always wanted to move back after spending a season here as a ski hill lifty. Living in Fernie inspired me to dive back into painting, not only due to the majestic environment but also because of the vibrant and supportive arts community. I have been a member at the Fernie arts coop for several years and love the creative atmosphere to work and display art.
I work mainly with acrylic paints which are fast and vivid. The high-speed nature of acrylics is ideal because I now schedule my painting around the demands of raising two busy little
boys. Acrylics help me emulate the Group of Seven, famous Canadian painters who used bold brushwork and colour to showcase our country’s beautiful landscapes. Acrylics capture the bright changing colours of the seasons, as well as the transparency and drape of Fernie’s legendary snow.
I draw inspiration from the architecture and nature of my surroundings to create paintings that show the ever-evolving history and unique character of my adopted home, this small town nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
“Three Sisters in Winter”
The Three Sisters are three prominent mountain peaks north of Fernie. As the legend goes, an Indian chief had to choose a wife between three young women. Due to the chief’s indecision, the gods punished him by transforming the chief into Mt Proctor. The three women were so upset that they asked the gods to turn them into mountains as well. As a feminist, there are many lessons to be taken from this problematic story. Your worth as a human is not dependent on being wanted by the opposite gender, and, although The Three Sisters are majestic and iconic in Fernie’s landscape, no man is worth turning yourself into a mountain over.