A Fernie artist is bringing iconic local landscapes to life, one bold brush stroke at a time.
The Three Bears, Lizard Range and Island Lake will feature in Tara Higgins’ latest exhibition, but not as residents know them.
The landscape painter hopes to show Fernie in a new light in “Home on the Range: Reflections of a Mountain Town”, which opened at The Arts Station on Thursday.
“There are those iconic things that stare at you, but I like the stuff that is a little bit more hidden,” she said.
“Unusual angles, so you’ll be out biking or walking the dogs and there will be the way the light falls onto something and it could be something iconic, but there will be a focal point that’s something different, that you don’t normally look at that catches your attention.
“That normally sends me off into some sort of deep spiral and the show emerges from there.”
Home on the Range is a smaller collection of between 10-12 oil paintings to cater to The Arts Station’s intimate space.
All pieces will be available for sale and priced between $500 and $3000.
Higgins has been working on the exhibition throughout winter, with up to nine canvases on the go at once.
“It’s interesting to come and exhibit back in Fernie and to look around at some of the more iconic things that are Fernie,” she said.
“It was a reflection of what always inspires me in Fernie and a reflection of the town.
“Part of that reflection was looking at the reflection of water, so taking it literally and figuratively.”
Higgins was drawn to painting at an early age and has studied and exhibited around the world.
But it wasn’t until her 30th birthday that she decided to turn her passion into a career.
“At some point you’ve got to either dig in or get out, so I decided to dig in,” she said.
“I turned 30 and looked around and wanted to see what I was capable of.”
For six years, Higgins was mentored by local figurative artist Angela Morgan, who encouraged her to swap her acrylic paints for oils.
“I’d done oils at university and had gone back to acrylics just mainly for the ease of use and quick drying,” she said.
“I do a lot of layers, so it’s a very patient game, which involves me having a lot of canvases on the go at the same time.
“I just build it up slowly, one brush stroke at a time and try not to get too impatient and try to do the whole thing at once.”
Higgins describes life as a professional artist as an “interesting struggle”, full of gallery rejections and few hard-won wins. But her clients make it all worth it.
Even as a seasoned artist, Higgins still gets a kick out of someone buying one of her paintings.
“It’s a validation that you’re going down the right road,” she said.
“I think that people appreciating my art and wanting to have it in their home and in their forever collection is the biggest compliment any artist can ever get.”
Higgins will exhibit at The Arts Station throughout May and host a roundtable discussion on May 11, as well as a landscape painting workshop from May 26-27.