En Plein Air paintings are a window into looking at the beauty our world has to offer and a Fort. St James artist will take viewers into the wilderness of British Columbia.
Pat Gauthier will be exhibiting her work during the En Plein Air [in the open air] Exhibition held by Pope Mountains Arts between Feb. 7 until March 7. Gauthier and Edward Epp are the two artists whose work will be exhibited. Over 70 paintings of the two artists will be displayed during this time.
“My inspiration comes from nature, my experiences, memories and a various mix of subjects. I view the world in shapes, colors and the way light and shadows fall on things, constantly painting them with my eyes.
Constructing the forms of abstract shapes within them… Some people have described my work as vibrant and colorful, energetic. I don’t over think the meaning of my artwork, it simply only needs to speak for itself,” reads Gauthier’s artist statement on her website.
She has work from the places she has travelled to, and a lot from the region including Fort St. James and Vanderhoof. Her medium choices are – oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel.
Gauthier moved to Fort St. James from Salmon Arm, B.C. in 1977 and she started working at the sawmill. At one point she quit painting all together because she was too busy with family and work but Gauthier said she came back to painting in 2006.
“I have been very serious since. I have got a lot of work out there and I have sold a lot of work locally. A lot of my work is nature inspired for sure. I gravitate to that a lot. I love what nature can show you in the sunlight when it comes up and in the sunrises and sunsets. I like the beauty in nature overall and love painting that,” she said.
Nature beckons Gauthier and she said she loves getting out there to paint but there are challenges of painting Plein Air. One major challenge is not having a large window of time.
“You have to get up early or get those golden moments or work very fast because you know the sun will change, the clouds can come over and all of a sudden you have lost all of the color that was there, or maybe the wind picked up and suddenly you have more ripples instead of that calm scene you fist saw. So it is a challenge to paint in the moment,” she said.
Imagine being on a beach and painting a scene and suddenly the people you are painting get up and leave, Gauthier said, noting having cell phones does help because she can click a photograph to help refresh her memory.
Apart from landscapes, Gauthier also loves to paint birds and animals. One year, she packed her pochade box and came to Vanderhoof to paint the Trumpeters.
“Every spring the Trumpeters come back to Vanderhoof and they come by the thousands. So I said to myself that I want to paint them some day. So I went down to Martin’s farm and asked them – ‘Can I set up on the side?’ and they were like – ‘oh yeah go ahead.’ And then I painted the Trumpeters live. Some of them were very quiet and they would just sit down there and not do much, but I got to draw them and paint them live which is extra special and extra challenging,” she said.
But that’s what Gauthier loves about paintings – the challenge, she said. She is gravitating towards portraits now because of the challenge it brings with it.
Nature driven motifs give her a never ending source of inspiration but she said she wanted to get Edward Epp’s paintings into the exhibition because they are very different from hers. “He has a bunch of little cradle paintings and they are loose and very abstract. Which is very different from mine.”
One scene that gives Gauthier a lot of inspiration is Mount Pope, which she can view from her ranch. She said she loves to paint the mountain because she has viewed it in different directions. Gauthier said, that is one painting that is always sold out.
“I love painting for myself and I like going into my studio, into my space. If I don’t paint for a while, I need to come back to it. It is something that has driven me and I have to get back to painting because I miss it,” she said.
To see some of Gauthier’s work, you could go onto her website at – www.patgauthierfineart.com