‘Feather Berries’ by Joni Laberge, part of her year-long painting journey. (Contributed by Joni Laberge)

‘Feather Berries’ by Joni Laberge, part of her year-long painting journey. (Contributed by Joni Laberge)

Local artist paints the pandemic away

Joni Laberge painted every day for the last year, culminating in an exhibit at The Arts Station

If you dropped by Fernie’s Arts Station in October you would have had the opportunity to enjoy Joni Laberge’s solo arts exhibit, ‘Following Paint’, which she described as a pandemic project.

“I painted almost every day since the winter of 2020,” said Laberge, who explained she hadn’t expected much from her daily creativity, but happened across the desire to do so through her day job.

“Making a small painting felt interesting and enjoyable, so I did another one the next day. And kept going with the flow. I became more and more interested in technical things to do with pigments and paper, and pretty much just kept going down a rabbit hole of learning.”

‘Following Paint’ is an apt descriptor for the exhibit, which followed Laberge’s journey through experimenting with watercolours.

Looking at each piece, inspiration looks to have come from animals in the valley, places, thoughts, vistas or whatever took Laberge’s fancy throughout the year.

She said that she liked using watercolour initially because it was relatively easy to clean up compared to other mediums, but after a while became ‘nerd-level’ fascinated. She described it as an ‘immediate and intuitive’ medium to paint with.

“When I was a kid, my best friend David and I would smash up rocks into powder and mix it with spit to paint ourselves. I think my love of watercolour is related to a primitive connection with rocks. Of course there’s other pigments that aren’t made from rocks and I could go on about that too … it’s a special interest with endless learning opportunities. It’s science and magic together.”

While the exhibit has since closed, Laberge continues to paint, so there may be more exhibits to come.

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