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The art of spring exhibitions

St. Albert's Visual Arts Studio Association hosts the All Members Spring Show until Saturday, May 27.

It’s often said that when a visual artist sells a work of art, they also sell a piece of their soul. If that is the case, then St. Albert’s Visual Arts Studio Association (VASA) is packed with soul. 

VASA is hosting its All Members Spring Show with 25 artists contributing more than 50 paintings. All together the show displays many styles, techniques, materials and moods. While some works create a confessional and emotive vibe, others pop with boldness and flamboyance. 

“Our goal is to give exposure to artists, increase our membership and come together as artists. That’s the biggest thing for me. I love the fellowship,” said Debz Johnson, VASA’s new exhibition director. 

Johnson built a 20-year career as a decorator until retirement in 2020 and dabbled in just about every craft and art. 

“I see it. I try it. I even face painted at farmers markets, festivals, birthday parties and corporate events,” Johnson said. In this show, she exhibits three realistic animal-poured paintings that project the innocence of childhood. 

While Johnson uses a soft palette, Sharon Abrams creates bold, vibrant abstracts that make a statement. The now-retired RCMP DNA specialist paints with jewel-toned acrylics, a departure from her past realistic artwork. 

“My sons have no use for traditional art. They love abstract and that’s why I took an interest in abstract painting. It’s relaxing and fun to do,” said Abrams.”I use a palette knife. What happens, happens.” 

On the other hand, Karen Blanchet contributes three paintings at different stages of child in Italy drinking from an outdoor water fountain. Using an acrylic medium, she paints multiple layers, cuts grooves into the paintings and overlays them with a bubble-shaped layer. 

One of the most eye-popping offerings is Miles Constable’s painted sculpture titled Freyja’s Katts. It is the story of the Norse goddess Freyja. In the legend, Freya wears a cape made from falcon feathers and has a chariot pulled by two lynxes. 

In this mixed-media artwork, Constable uses the back of a wood panel as the base and attaches cat-shaped copper plates painted in blue. Additionally, he cut out copper falcon feathers using a butane torch and secured them to the panel.  

Doris Charet’s Friends causes nearly everyone who gazes at to smile at its positive message. Charest has painted a big fat tree seemingly protecting a thinner, smaller tree behind it. And harpist Janet Bo-Lassen's three brightly coloured paintings of downtown St. Albert in the fall lend themselves to a striking impressionistic style. 

As the exhibition’s largest painting, Bruce Thompson’s digital Jasper mountainscape measures 40 inches by 48 inches.  Thompson took one of his original oil paintings, added digital brushes based on algorithms, repainted the digital work with acrylics and created a new painting. 

“It’s great fun. It’s exciting. You never know what you end up with,” Thompson said. 

The All Members Spring Show runs until Saturday, May 25 at VASA Gallery, 25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave. A reception is held on Thursday, May 2 from 6 pm. to 8:30 p.m.

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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