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St. Albert Painters' Guild depicts the many faces of nature

Spring Forward, the annual guild show and sale, unites 55 visual artists whose paintings reflect the beauty of nature and all its moods

You never know what you’re going to discover at St. Albert Painters Guild annual spring show and sale. All the paintings are new, but the title, Spring Forward, indicates it’s a foray into the beauty of nature and all its moods. 

Spring Forward, taking place April 26 to 28 at St. Albert Place, will be one of the city’s most eclectic and exciting visual art showcases this year. It’s largely due to the variety of art — 55 artists present nearly 300 imaginative works in oil, acrylic, water colour, pastels, gouache, mixed media and alcohol-based inks.  

Whether each piece of individual art falls into the school of realism, impressionism, expressionism or abstraction, no two artistic styles are alike. 

“There aren’t any new trends. What goes in and out is the handling of materials. For instance, we have new options that will mix oil with water and that wasn’t possible 20 years ago,” said Johanne Yakula, show co-manager with Margo Oevering. 

Oevering goes deeper explaining there are many kinds of mediums and their effect on viewers. 

“A work can be thicker or more textured, glassy or shiny and they create different feelings. And this art show will create many different expressions of those feelings,” she said. 

The show attracts seasoned and new faces along with a sprinkle of local celebrity dust. Visual artists that tend to attract crowds are the prolific Luise Mendler-Johnson who experiments in numerous mediums, Memory Roth’s canvasses depicting St. Albert landscapes, and Elaine Mulder’s innovative techniques in creating sustainable and environmentally friendly art.  

One of Mulder’s offerings is Good Morning Pyramid!, an interpretation of the iconic Pyramid Mountain. It was influenced by a 7 a.m. viewing watching the sun rise, spreading its golden rays across the mountain face.  

“I was in awe, humbled by such a natural wonder,” said Mulder who created the painting's stone face and crevices from discarded material. The homemade concoctions included varying amounts of sodium bicarbonate, carpenters glue, gesso, egg carton mulch, fax line wires and PVC plastic shavings. 

Another mountain aficionado is new artist Ron Richey’s who contributes Mt. Edith Cavell Morning. It is an acrylic on stretched canvas painted in the wispy pointillist style of French post-impressionist Georges Seurat. 

“I wanted to capture the luminal experience of watching the first rays of the rising sun touching the peak while mist swirls on the still waters of Cavell Lake,” said Richey. 

Stepping away from the tranquil, Roth paints the turbulence of nature in Storm Approaching, the second painting in her Big Lake Series. She photographed the storm in 2012 while standing at the BLESS platform at Big Lake. 

“We watched as the clouds got closer and the storm picked up power. Not only was there electricity in the air from the storm, but also the excitement from the crowd as we witnessed Mother Nature in all her glory,” said Roth. 

Closer to home, Oevering depicts Tulip Pop-up, an acrylic illustrating a lush garden of brightly coloured spring blooms swaying in the wind. 

“My family loves tulips and each year I take photos of tulips in the landscape and in a vase at home. These tulips were from spring in Canada last year,” Oevering said. 

Yakula, on the other hand, is submitting Fiery February Sky, a pastel likely to be one of the few winter scenes at the spring show and sale. 

“I was driving south on the Anthony Henday Freeway. The sky was a brilliant fiery ball of oranges, reds, yellows and purples. It took my breath away. The colours were even more vibrant against the blue tones of the snowy landscape. Mother Nature at ther greatest,” Yakula said. 

And finally, Jill Swann-Lussier, provides A Natural Connection, an impression of a well-trampled, winding forest path leading to an icy mountain lake. 

Spring Forward takes place Friday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Albert Place. An artist reception takes place from 7 pm. To 9 p.m. The show continues Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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