The Fernie Arts Station will be opening a new show July 28. The exhibit will be put on by the Visual Arts Guild and feature a variety of work. The bulk of the shows collection will be from acrylic paintings done by participants in two courses that were hosted in Fernie by Marla deBoon.
In the fall of 2015, local artist Marla deBoon was asked to do a workshop on a whimsical style of painting that she learned a year prior. In the summer of 2014, deBoon and a few fellow painters took an e-course with Flora Bowley.
“Watching [Bowley] paint, I felt what she was teaching would help me to be more than I was. She certainly stretched me out of my comfort zone. It was intuitive painting. Working in abstract and playing with the paint. Working with what happens and if something pops into your head, you go with that,” deBoon said. “Nothing is precious. Your work is continually evolving. It was hard learning to play and they were asking me to teach something I felt was not a real concrete thing, like a photograph or object placed in front of you. There is no preconceived idea of what you are going to paint.”
Despite the indefinite style and subject, deBoon agreed to host a 10-person class, which was at capacity.
“That first evening at the Arts Station was very exciting and nerve-racking for all of us. I taught some of what I learned in the e-course and some of what I had figured out myself. We worked in acrylic paint. Initially the work is very loose with no thought of what it would become. Then you come to a point where you have to commit to something,” she said. “A colour scheme or an image, but still be flexible and follow what comes to you. Follow your intuition. It’s easier said than done. We had lots of personal growth and ‘ah ha’ moments. I think everyone was challenged at some point in the process. It is a very different way to paint.”
The painting style and approach created an even painting field of sorts for participating painters, long time artists were challenged to change their habits and perspectives, while new painters dove head first into their work.
“I think the work that resulted was mind blowing. Some people had never painted before. Everyone was brave. Works were not necessarily completed at the workshop, but that was okay. It is about the process of making art. Everyone’s thoughts are different so every piece of art is unique,” she said. “Those individuals who painted lots previously, worked as hard as those who never painted before. It might have been harder for them, because they pushed themselves beyond what they normally do. Some of the techniques or subjects they like, came through in new ways. It was very exciting to watch.”
deBoon concluded the interview with some thoughts on the upcoming month-long exhibit.
“We talked about having a show of finished works when everyone completed pieces, but the timing never seemed to work. So this show will be a selection of some of the work done in that first course and a following one. There will be other works of art as well because the show is being put on by the Visual Arts Guild. The show opens on July 28 at 7p.m., at the Arts Station and runs until Aug. 22. It should be a very exciting display.”