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Art exhibition at St. Albert's Bookstore on Perron

Painters Francoise Noël, Johanne Yakula, Tony Overweel and Andrew Raczynski showcase their spring collection from June 6 to 28

The Bookstore on Perron has a secret. If you walk past the books to a back room, you will discover a micro-gallery of vibrant, enticing art. 

This summer, several visual artists from St. Albert Painters Guild and Visual Arts Studio Association plan to work closely with the bookstore to host a series of exhibitions from June through to September. 

Titled 2024 Summer Art Show at The Bookstore on Perron, the June showcase brings attention to the paintings of Francoise Noël, Johanne Yakula, Tony Overweel and Andrew Raczynski. 

Noël, a St. Albert-based painter, started taking art classes after retirement. Through trial and error, she’s discovered watercolour, gouache and ink are her preferred mediums. 

“She is inspired and paints from reference photographs. She has explored different styles from realistic botanicals to folk art, and she continues to develop and refine a looser style of watercolour painting,” stated a painters’ guild media release. 

Johanne Yakula instead uses the rich pigments of chalk pastels to paint stunning landscapes from the natural world. 

“The inspiration for my current work comes from observing nature’s many moods. I am especially attracted to the sliver of time just before sundown when lingering rays of golden sunshine illuminate parts of the landscape while leaving others in shadow,” Yakula stated. 

Nature is also an exciting force that stirs Tony Overweel’s imagination, especially now that he has retired from the architectural field. 

“My love for hiking and backcountry skiing inspires my love of landscapes. Alberta abounds in countless opportunities for inspirational subject matter. And it’s my desire to seek out and express my awe for our natural, ever-changing world through the media of oil, acrylic and pastel,” said Overweel.  

Andrew Raczynski instead prefers painting people interacting in the great outdoors. The now retired teacher started painting at age seven and counts artists Jon Gnagy, James Davies and Jerry Heine as influences. 

A strong advocate for cycling, he trains with fellow cyclists and has participated in the annual Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer since 2019. Much of his work is based on the landscapes he sees and the people who cycle with him. 

His Big Sky Country for instance, is a straight up watercolour while End of Day 1, Sundre is based on selected cancer photos during one of his rides. 

Joint passports of both VASA and the Bookstore give visitors an opportunity to win original works of art. 

A free opening reception takes place at the micro gallery on Thursday, June 6 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Bookstore on Perron is at 7 Perron Street. The art display continues until June 28. 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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