For Sarah Boileau, being back in Fort St. James feels like being home again.
The 32-year-old artist moved to Fort St. James with her family from Germansen Landing when she was three, then moved to Alberta after graduating from Fort St. James Secondary School.
“I went to pursue surveying,” Boileau said. “I had a travel bug and I wanted to see the world.”
Since then, Boileau who now resides in Edmonton, has worked in the construction industry for various road building companies.
“I have been a laborer, heavy equipment operator and surveyor. Construction was a good fit as the seasonal nature of the work allowed me the freedom to paint and travel in the winter months.”
Boileau, who continually aspires to see the beauty in everything, saw construction as being no different.
“Construction inspired me to capture the beautiful side of it,” Boileau said.
And this is clear with her series called Earthmovers as heavy machinery, trucks and loaders are captured in their full glory as they maneuver soil and rock across the pages.
“I began oil painting when I was 17-years-old,” Boileau said. “That’s when the experimentation began. I’ve always known in my heart, that it’s what I am meant to do.”
“My brother would ask my mom when I would be a painter and my mom would say, when she’s ready, she’ll do it. And I did. I think if I were to look back, I would regret not giving it a chance.”
And a chance, she did take.
Boileau has since had her work exhibited in Edmonton and in New York in 2014.
And most recently, her work has been on display at Pope Mountain Arts in her hometown of Fort St. James.
From May 16-31, Boileaus’s exhibition of original paintings, Landscapes and Dreams, caught the attention of many.
On May 13, Boileau offered the community a “learn to paint” workshop that included an evening of direct instruction.
“The workshop was a lot of fun,” Boileau said. “It was a great turnout, there was great energy, and it was a first time for me. I can’t wait to do it again.”
For Boileau, it’s all about sharing the beauty of her surroundings.
“I love the beauty of creation and in knowing that I have poured my heart and soul into a painting or when I can take a thought or a glimpse of something and create something tangible, something that can touch other people,” Boileau said.
“I think it is important to show people the world through my eyes. All too often, we don’t take the time to really appreciate the beauty that exists all around us.”
And since being back in Fort St. James, Boileau is happy to revisit it with new eyes all over again.
“I think you get desensitized when you see something day to day. It’s so beautiful here.”
So what is next on Boileau’s agenda?
“I just bought a motorhome this summer. My plan is to travel around B.C. and paint. I hope to one day make a living out of this.”
But for now, Boileau is happy that her home town of Fort St, James was her first stop.
“It feels so good to be back in my hometown and share my work with everyone.”
Boileau is currently working on an oil painting of the sunset at Cottonwood Park. The painting will be displayed in various businesses around town and will be raffled off at the end of June.
You can see more of Boileau’s work at: sarahboileau.com