Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

FR|AG|ME|NTE|D: painting from the heart

Many artists use painting as a way to express their feelings. Some even find that painting is a way for them to replace feelings of stress and anxiety with feelings of peace, and calm.

When Vanessa Croome’s father died in 2016, she was overcome with emotions. Around the same time, her partner, Jay, also experienced loss. In the months following, they grieved and came to terms with their new realities.

During this time, Croome started to paint again, inspired by Jay’s music.

Fragmented; a word that to Croome, means disjointed, apart, separate, segmented. Life, family, loss, life after loss. She also used this word as a way to summarize her new gallery of paintings, which launched at the Arts Station on Thursday, January 25.

“I just felt that life has been divided into all these different sections, these fragments,” she said, referring to how she has changed over time, through many different experiences.

The paintings which now cover the walls at The Arts Station are a compilation of illustrated emotions that have surfaced for Croome throughout the past two years.

Upon first glance, Fragmented seems as though it was created by multiple artists. A bright landscape scene, invoking feelings of spring, neighbours a chaotic urban scene containing dismal faces, harsh brush strokes and deep shadows.

After everything was hung, Vanessa stood back and thought, “It’s too dark. I should have done more landscapes. I should have painted lighter and more minimal paintings.”

But then she looked back at her goals and was reminded that she achieved exactly what she set out to do: push further, create meaningful work, be different, continue her style, paint what makes her happy.

Sometimes, before picking up her brush, Croome has an idea of what she wants to create. Other times, she discovers what she wants to paint as she begins to throw paint. Starting with a background, Vanessa adds colours to see what happens. She admitted that she is always inspired by whatever music Jay plays at the time.

Some of her paintings have an obvious meaning, but some of her work leaves room for interpretation.

“That’s what I really like, I really want people to interpret the paintings in their own way,” she said.

One of her paintings, Little Warriors, holds a special spot in Croome’s heart.

“I can tell you what Little Warriors means to me, the hard time I had when I was in London, my dad was dying and he was in hospital, the relationship with my brothers and how hard that was; that’s what that painting means to me,” she said. “But I want people to draw their own emotion or feeling from something.”

Fragmented will be on display at The Arts Station until February 20.


Vanessa Croome opened the doors to her gallery, Fragmented, last Thursday. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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