On Thursday, May 25, The Arts Station presented A Succulent Journey, a compilation of work created by the members of the Fernie Visual Arts Guild.
Donna Miller, Jeanne Parker, Anne Majic, Mary Menduk, Jean Marchi, Karen Macdonald, Pat Moore, Laura Bentley, Marla Deboon, Margaret Fraser, Beulah Limber, Florence Baturin, Kathy Stead and Margaret Hinton were all artists who put their work on display.
All of these artists create together and are inspired by each other. The group meets every Monday night during the summer and welcomes newcomers to join their guild.
“Our collective energy inspires our work,” read the introduction to the Visual Arts Guild. “We grow as artists by drawing and learning from each other. This shared casual and non-judgemental experience encourages us to take more risks as artists.”
Marla Deboon taught a flower workshop, Jeanne Parker taught a workshop on encaustics which uses molten wax as a creative art medium. This workshop was funded through a grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. Kathy Stead taught a Van Gogh workshop, and Karen Macdonald surprised everyone with her unique combination of acrylics and clay, which turned a forest landscape into a 3D scene through the addition of a clay stump attached to the painting.
Marla Deboon has been working with acrylics as long as she can remember. At The Arts Station, Deboon had nine paintings on display. Some incorporated flowers, and some displayed her skill with landscapes and wildlife.
Deboon often paints through reference of a photograph, but sometimes she starts putting paint on a canvas and brings an image out of it as she goes.
“And if it doesn’t work, it’s only paint,” she said, smiling. “You can’t make any mistakes.”
Speaking about the art gallery, Deboon said, “I think it’s awesome. It shows such a broad range of what people can do, and what we are doing,” she said.
“Like Karen Macdonald. What she comes up with is mind-blowing,” said Deboon.
Deboon added that the encouraging atmosphere of the Art Guild helps artists achieve incredible things.
Macdonald was inspired to work with clay because of her love for texture, and mixed-media artwork. Starting with the guild 20 years ago, her first art medium was watercolour. Since then, she has branched off and excelled in many different art forms. Her tree stump concept was inspired by Jeanne Parkers encaustic workshop, which taught her to think outside the box.
Hiking frequently, Macdonald’s first clay tree resembled a burnt-out cedar, and eventually progressed to several different tree types.
“You just keep evolving. Art is evolutionary,” she said. “The more you do, the more you learn, the better you get.”
The long-time guild member recently came back to the guild after a long break due to working full time. She’s excited to be back in front of the canvas.
“Being creative is so important,” she said.
A Succulent Journey will be on display at The Arts Station until June 27.