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Mountains of Art

Artists use uncommon techniques to capture local landscapes

By Lisa Stephens

Canadian Rockies galleries are full of mountain inspired art. Artists have always been drawn to the region to capture its rugged beauty.

According to Mountain Galleries owner Wendy Wacko, “The movement began in the 1920s with The Group of Seven, and original voices today are carrying it forward.”

While classic landscapes of lakes nestled between peaks are commonly found on gallery walls, some artists strive to express their unique visions of the mountains through original perspectives, techniques and media.

Stylistic Influences

Wacko notes three top painters in the Mountain Galleries stable who are truly original. Derived from his illustrator background, Brent Lynch’s oils have a unique perspective. “Lynch sees the world differently,” Wacko says.

Artist Brent Lynch

Artist Brent Lynch

Rod Prouse’s art has been influenced by his work as a printmaker. He paints fast because he works with a water-based acrylic or gouache that dries quickly, Wacko explains. “Each brush stroke is filled with energy,” she adds.

Artist Maureen Enns is well known for her grizzly bear art, but her new painting series of prayer flags in the Canadian Rockies was inspired by a Himalayan hiking trip. These mixed media works contain familiar vistas with added colourful flags drifting in the wind.

Unique Methods

Avens Gallery owner Sue Ward enthuses about three different artists. David Zimmerman uses layers of paint, silver and gold foil, pieces of burlap, and printer’s ink to create his unique works. He typically finishes his pieces with an epoxy resin that creates an unusual high gloss appearance.

Art by David Zimmerman

Art by David Zimmerman

Steven Friedman captures untouched natural beauty with a large format camera. “His photographs look like paintings,” Ward says.

Evelyn Kirkaldy uses acrylic house paint for her landscapes, but doesn’t use a brush. Instead, she squirts the paint on canvas and then manipulates it with various tools to create marvelous texture. She often creates vivid wildflowers that almost leap off the wall.

Janette Doering from Canada House Gallery in Banff notes three artists who capture the mountains through unusual media. Leslie Rowe-Israelson uses glass to create her stunning scenes. “Every dot of colour is a piece of glass,” Doering says. Once the masterpiece is composed, Rowe-Israelson fuses the glass together.

Her colourful works are in stark contrast to Jennifer Annesley’s detailed black and white mountain landscapes of charcoal and gouache on paper. Annesley travels to remote locales and waits for light that creates strong contrasts. “The white in her art is the actual colour of the paper; only the black and grey is added,” Doering explains.

Dieter Schlatter's Castle Mountain Alberta

Dieter Schlatter’s Castle Mountain Alberta

Dieter Schlatter’s uncommon approach uses photo transfers, acrylic paint that often drips freely and thick resin. “They’re very contemporary,” Doering says.

“Great paintings tell a story,” says Wacko. Allow the knowledgeable staff at local galleries to help you pick the artwork that speaks to you. “You’ll know it’s right when you have an emotional connection to the art,” Doering adds.

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