Elk Valley local Vanessa Croome will have her work on display at The Arts Station for their next exhibit Set in Motion.
This will be Croome’s first exhibit as a featured artists. Her art uses high intensity colours with a strong black contrast.
“This is my first show, and it’s definitely going to be outside of my comfort zone. I think it will be really important for me to get feedback from people. I’m just starting out and my painting can go in so many different directions,” she said. “It’s a really neat place to be in actually. I started painting again after all these years because I needed to, it was a part of me that was dying to get out, but it was stuck in layers of fear and doubt. With new balance in my life, support and happiness, I was able to break through those layers.”
Croome studied graphic design and made that her career for two decades. Only recently did she pick up a paintbrush again and it took some time to figure out her process.
“I was in a creative arts program when I was in school and then went into graphic design which became my focus and career for the past 20 years. I didn’t pick up a paintbrush again until two years ago. My partner Jay and I pushed each other creatively and I was finally able to face my fears when it came to painting,” she said. “I didn’t know how to start, what to paint, or what style I wanted to paint. All I knew was that for the past 10 years, I had wanted to paint. With music, a studio, canvases and an incredible amount of support, I was able to start painting again with no excuses. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
The exhibit’s name, Set in Motion is a metaphor for her budding artistic career.
“We chose Set in Motion for a couple of reasons. ‘Set’ because my work is grouped into three sections; Surroundings, Abstractions and Emotions. ‘In Motion’ because I am only at the beginning of the ‘track’—a metaphor for my new artistic endeavour. I anticipate the ‘mix’ being varied; intense at times, and melodic at others,” she said.
Croome thinks like a graphic designer, striving for the perfection that graphic design’s shape and colour manipulation allows for.
“I will always think with the mind of a graphic designer. When I first started painting, it was a huge challenge to let go of the perfection that the computer allows for. I was no longer able to control my lines or spacing in the same way, or have consistency in shapes and colours. I had to embrace the brush stroke with all its beautiful imperfection,” she said.
There is no undo command in painting, and while some things can be overlayed it is not as clean cut or precise.
“On the computer, with the simple click of the mouse I can try a different colour or font or style as many times as I want until I get it right. On canvas, every brush stroke and colour choice feels like such a huge commitment,” she said. “Logically I know I can paint over it, but then you risk painting over something that does work. Letting go and accepting what happens is a huge part of the process. I still yearn for the ‘undo’ command from time to time.”
Croome is on the Board of Directors at the Arts Station and the Chamber of Commerce. She aims to contribute to an inclusive community by creating initiatives and supporting art and music.
“Being involved in creating initiatives where the community can gather in support of art and music is really important to me. These events promote a feeling of inclusiveness, a sense of a greater community, and they are inspiring,” she said.
“In urban centres, these opportunities are plentiful. In smaller towns, we must work together to create ways to inspire each other with our different art forms and talents.”
The exhibit will open on Mar. 31, with a reception at the Arts Station at 7 p.m.